Seismic biomarkers in Japan Trench fault zone reveal history of large earthquakes

In the aftermath of the devastating Tohoku-Oki earthquake that struck off the coast of Japan in March 2011, seismologists were stunned by the unprecedented 50 meters of shallow displacement along the fault, which ruptured all the way to the surface of the seafloor. This extreme slip at shallow depths exacerbated the massive tsunami that, together … Read more

‘Melting rock’ models predict mechanical origins of earthquakes

Engineers at Duke University have devised a model that can predict the early mechanical behaviors and origins of an earthquake in multiple types of rock. The model provides new insights into unobservable phenomena that take place miles beneath the Earth’s surface under incredible pressures and temperatures, and could help researchers better predict earthquakes — or … Read more

A new conceptual model predicts key characteristics of major earthquakes and tsunamis

Understanding how earthquakes occur is one of the main open questions in the field of seismology. Decades of research have not been enough to establish a model to predict earthquake’s behaviour neither to explain the systematic variation of the properties of their seismic rupture observed according to the depth where they initiate. This situation has … Read more

Stronger earthquakes can be induced by wastewater injected deep underground

Perhaps more critically, the research team of geoscientists found that the percentage of high-magnitude earthquakes increases with depth, and may create – although fewer in number – greater magnitude earthquakes years after injection rates decline or stop altogether. The study, led by Ryan M. Pollyea in the Virginia Tech College of Science’s Department of Geosciences, … Read more

Study reveals key factor in Himalayan earthquake rupture

The Himalayan orogenic belt produces frequent large earthquakes that impact population centers for a distance of over 2500 km. In the central region, the 2015 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal, with moment magnitude (MW) 7.8, partially ruptured a ~120-km by 80-km patch of the Main Himalayan Thrust (MHT), the detachment that separates the underthrusting Indian plate … Read more

Stresses from past earthquakes explain location of seismic events

Scientists have previously struggled to identify patterns for earthquakes happening in hazardous areas around the world, with the suggestion that they appear to strike largely at random. However, a study published in Nature Communications suggests that Coulomb pre-stress – the static stress present on a fault plane prior to rupture – can go some way to explaining … Read more

How tides can trigger earthquakes

The tides are turning in a quest to solve an earthquake mystery. Years ago, scientists realized that earthquakes along mid-ocean ridges – those underwater mountain ranges at the edges of the tectonic plates – are linked with the tides. But nobody could figure out why there’s an uptick in tremors during low tides. “Everyone was … Read more