Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Earthquakes beget earthquakes near and far

01.06.2004


Earthquakes not only shake up the local area but they also increase the rate of earthquake events locally and at a distance. The answer to how this happens may be in the laboratory, according to a Penn State researcher.



"We have learned a lot since the Landers earthquake in the Mojave Desert in 1992," says Dr. Chris Marone, professor of geosciences. "We learned that earthquake triggering happens a lot more than we thought. The mechanism is not well understood."

Marone is working with Margaret S. Boettcher, a Ph.D. student he coadvises at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Heather M. Savage, his Ph.D student at Penn State, investigating in the laboratory the way triggering of earthquakes works and whether or not a time lag exists between the initial earthquake and the ones that follow.


The researchers use a deformation apparatus that simulates the fault zone between slipping rock masses and the slipping forces on it. Then a force is placed perpendicular to the fault to simulate the perpendicular vibration caused by the energy waves from the initial earthquake on the already stressed "fault." The researchers reported their results in a recent issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research.

"Yes, we do find lags between the changes in the forces and the changes in the strength," says Marone. "There are seconds of delay in the laboratory between the force being applied and the fault moving."

While the delay in the laboratory is in seconds, in the real world the delay can be from minutes to a week after the initial shock. The researchers believe they know why a delay exists between the vibration waves of the initial earthquake and the motion on other faults. The area of interest is the gouge zone, the space between the solid rock filled with everything from sand to pea size gravel to large boulders. This granular fault gouge can be up to a kilometer in width.

"We have known since the 1800s that compacted grains when sheared expand and increase volume," says Marone. "The best example of this phenomenon, known as dilatancy, is on the beach. Your foot, as you step, shears the compacted sand and the beach surface dries momentarily as water drains into the pore space between grains. When you lift your foot, the granules collapse back into their compacted position, leaving a dry footprint."

Within this gouge zone, a competition between compaction and dilation of the granules takes place. The perpendicular force of the periodic waves produced by the initial earthquake changes the steady state density and porosity. The change in porosity is dilation. Through compaction and dilation, an area parallel to the fault in the gouge is set up where the slipping movement of the earthquake actually takes place.

The Lander’s earthquake was a shallow earthquake and created many surface waves. Other similar earthquakes have occurred in the Mojave, Denali, the Hector Mine earthquake and in ChiChi, Taiwan. Potential for this type of earthquakes exists worldwide.

"People have been taking laboratory data and trying to model seismic hazard from trigger earthquakes," says Marone. "The lag between the time stresses reaches a fault and, when the strength in the fault gouge changes, must be considered to model this properly." The National Science Foundation and the United States Geological Service funded this research.

A’ndrea Elyse Messer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu/

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Climate Change in West Africa
17.06.2019 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before
13.06.2019 | Technische Universität Graz

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The hidden structure of the periodic system

The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified

The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...

Im Focus: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

Im Focus: Tube anemone has the largest animal mitochondrial genome ever sequenced

Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.

The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....

Im Focus: Tiny light box opens new doors into the nanoworld

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have discovered a completely new way of capturing, amplifying and linking light to matter at the nanolevel. Using a tiny box, built from stacked atomically thin material, they have succeeded in creating a type of feedback loop in which light and matter become one. The discovery, which was recently published in Nature Nanotechnology, opens up new possibilities in the world of nanophotonics.

Photonics is concerned with various means of using light. Fibre-optic communication is an example of photonics, as is the technology behind photodetectors and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Uncovering hidden protein structures

18.06.2019 | Life Sciences

Monitoring biodiversity with sound: how machines can enrich our knowledge

18.06.2019 | Life Sciences

Schizophrenia: Adolescence is the game-changer

18.06.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>