Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Research Reveals Hidden Earthquake Trouble Spots

08.11.2006
A team from the University of Leicester has used a powerful laser mounted on an aircraft to uncover earthquake fault lines that are hidden by forest cover and never before seen by earth scientists.

The 2005 Kashmir earthquake was a terrifying example of how faults in mountainous regions that pose serious seismic hazards can go unnoticed because they are hidden by forest cover and thus are not easily identified.

Now the scientists from the Departments of Geology and Geography at the University of Leicester in the UK have developed a technique that can be used in mountainous terrain to virtually deforest the landscape and reveal details of the forest floor topography, including the traces of active faults.

The scientists have pioneered use of the laser probe to map active fault systems in Europe and made the first ever use of the technique to survey high-relief alpine landscapes.

The Leicester team has demonstrated that airborne LiDAR (an acronym for light detection and ranging – essentially a powerful laser mounted on an aircraft), can detect traces of active faults.

Dr Dickson Cunningham in the Department of Geology and Dr Kevin Tansey in the Department of Geography collaborated on a NERC funded project to map the distribution of recently active earthquake-prone faults in the southeastern Alps in Slovenia.

Their key research results are now published in the latest issue of Geophysical Research Letters. The work was further supported by a Masters student in Geography, Mr. Stephen Grebby.

Dr Cunningham said: “Locating earthquake-prone faults in forested mountainous regions and understanding the potential seismic hazard they pose to local population centres has always been a problem to geoscientists.

“Many regions of the world have undiscovered seismically active faults hidden by dense forests, including Indonesia, India, NW North America, all Andean nations and the alpine countries of Europe. Unfortunately for people living in these regions, these faults can be ticking time bombs.

“We have demonstrated that airborne LiDAR can be used in mountainous terrain to virtually deforest the landscape and reveal details of the forest floor topography, including the traces of active faults.”

Dr Cunningham reports that the research involved collaborative efforts with Slovenian geoscientists and InfoTerra, a global geo-information supplier based in Leicester.

The topographic images derived from LiDAR data of two major plate boundary faults, the Idrija and Ravne strike-slip faults in Slovenia, reveal geomorphological and structural features that shed light on the overall architecture and movement history of both fault systems.

He added: “For the first time, we are able to see how the faults connect at the surface and cut the landscape. This allows us to assess whether the faults are likely to produce large earthquakes or small events in the future. The images also allow efficient identification of sites suitable for detailed fault analysis to calculate the recurrence interval of major earthquakes and make probabilistic estimates of the timing and magnitude of the next major earthquake.“

A field excursion in August 2006 verified the remote observations. Dr Tansey said: “As we trekked through the forest we found overwhelming evidence for previous fault activity, never before seen by earth scientists. We are now building on our initial results with follow-up research and have established the UK’s first inter-disciplinary LiDAR research unit here at Leicester with support from the Ordnance Survey and the British Geological Survey.”

| alfa
Further information:
http://www.le.ac.uk/geography/research/unit_llru.html

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas
19.07.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht NSF-supported researchers to present new results on hurricanes and other extreme events
19.07.2018 | National Science Foundation

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Metal too 'gummy' to cut? Draw on it with a Sharpie or glue stick, science says

19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

NSF-supported researchers to present new results on hurricanes and other extreme events

19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells

19.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>