Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Strong storms generating earthquake-like seismic activity

16.10.2019

A Florida State University researcher has uncovered a new geophysical phenomenon where a hurricane or other strong storm can spark seismic events in the nearby ocean as strong as a 3.5 magnitude earthquake.

"We're calling them 'stormquakes,'" said lead author Wenyuan Fan, an assistant professor of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science. "This involves coupling of the atmosphere-ocean and solid earth. During a storm season, hurricanes or nor'easters transfer energy into the ocean as strong ocean waves, and the waves interact with the solid earth producing intense seismic source activity." The research is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.


Assistant Professor Wenyuan Fan has coined the term 'stormquakes' to describe a newly identified geological phenomenon where hurricanes or other strong storms trigger seismic events.

Credit: Bruce Palmer/FSU Photography Services

Fan and his colleagues analyzed nearly a decade of seismic and oceanographic records from September 2006 to February 2019 and found a connection between strong storms and intense seismic activity near the edge of continental shelves or ocean banks.

Specifically, researchers found evidence of more than 10,000 stormquakes from 2006 to 2019 offshore of New England, Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico in the United States, as well as offshore of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and British Columbia in Canada.

"We can have seismic sources in the ocean just like earthquakes within the crust," Fan said. "The exciting part is seismic sources caused by hurricanes can last from hours to days."

Fan and his colleagues developed a novel approach to detect and locate seismic events and determine whether the seismic event is a stormquake. It must occur during a stormy day and meet other geophysical standards to determine the robustness of the correlation between the storm and the seismic event. Additionally, other seismic events such as earthquakes must be ruled out.

One example the researchers cited was Hurricane Bill, an Atlantic hurricane that originated on Aug. 15, 2009, strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane and ultimately struck Newfoundland as a tropical storm. It was a Category 1 hurricane when it approached offshore New England on Aug. 22, 2009.

When the hurricane arrived, numerous seismic events were located off the New England and Nova Scotia coasts, which produced transcontinental surface waves. Similarly, Hurricane Ike in 2008 caused stormquake activity in the Gulf of Mexico and Hurricane Irene in 2011 did the same near Little Bahama Bank off Florida's shore.

Fan and his colleagues noted that not all hurricanes cause stormquakes. There are hotspots. Scientists detected no evidence of stormquakes off of Mexico or from New Jersey to Georgia in the United States. Even Hurricane Sandy, one of the costliest storms on record in the United States, did not spur stormquakes.

This suggests that stormquakes are strongly influenced by the local oceanographic features and seafloor topography, Fan said.

"We have lots of unknowns," Fan said. "We weren't even aware of the existence of the natural phenomenon. It really highlights the richness of the seismic wave field and suggests we are reaching a new level of understanding of seismic waves."

###

Researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution as well as Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the U.S. Geological Survey contributed to this research.

Media Contact

Kathleen Haughney
khaughney@fsu.edu
850-644-1489

 @floridastate

http://www.fsu.edu 

Kathleen Haughney | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2019GL084217

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Neutron source enables a look inside dino eggs
22.01.2020 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Ozone-depleting substances caused half of late 20th-century Arctic warming, says study
21.01.2020 | Earth Institute at Columbia University

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Integrate Micro Chips for electronic Skin

Researchers from Dresden and Osaka present the first fully integrated flexible electronics made of magnetic sensors and organic circuits which opens the path towards the development of electronic skin.

Human skin is a fascinating and multifunctional organ with unique properties originating from its flexible and compliant nature. It allows for interfacing with...

Im Focus: Dresden researchers discover resistance mechanism in aggressive cancer

Protease blocks guardian function against uncontrolled cell division

Researchers of the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital Dresden at the National Center for Tumor Diseases Dresden (NCT/UCC), together with an international...

Im Focus: New roles found for Huntington's disease protein

Crucial role in synapse formation could be new avenue toward treatment

A Duke University research team has identified a new function of a gene called huntingtin, a mutation of which underlies the progressive neurodegenerative...

Im Focus: A new look at 'strange metals'

For years, a new synthesis method has been developed at TU Wien (Vienna) to unlock the secrets of "strange metals". Now a breakthrough has been achieved. The results have been published in "Science".

Superconductors allow electrical current to flow without any resistance - but only below a certain critical temperature. Many materials have to be cooled down...

Im Focus: Programmable nests for cells

KIT researchers develop novel composites of DNA, silica particles, and carbon nanotubes -- Properties can be tailored to various applications

Using DNA, smallest silica particles, and carbon nanotubes, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) developed novel programmable materials....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

„Advanced Battery Power“- Conference, Contributions are welcome!

07.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers discover vaccine to strengthen the immune system of plants

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

Brain-cell helpers powered by norepinephrine during fear-memory formation

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

Engineered capillaries model traffic in tiny blood vessels

24.01.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>