# Earthquakes. Earthquakes: Big Ideas. Earthquakes

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1 Earthquakes Earthquakes: Big Ideas Humans cannot eliminate natural hazards but can engage in activities that reduce their impacts by identifying high-risk locations, improving construction methods, and developing warning systems Water s unique physical and chemical properties are essential to the dynamics of all of Earth s systems Understanding geologic processes active in the modern world is crucial to interpreting Earth s past Over Earth s vast history, catastrophic processes have produced enormous changes Earth scientists do reproducible experiments and collect multiple lines of evidence. Earthquakes earthquake: movement of rock bodies past other fault: locus of the earthquake movement faults come at all scales, mm to separation of lithospheric plates (e.g., San Andreas). 1

2 Elastic Rebound Stress builds up in rocks until it exceeds the strength of rock Elastic deformation is expressed in rocks between earthquakes Stress versus Time 2

3 Before and After Earthquake terms focus: site of initial rupture epicenter: point on surface above the focus Recording Earthquakes: Vertical 3

4 Recording Earthquakes: Horizontal P, S and Surface Waves P waves (compressional) 6 8 km/s. Parallel to direction of movement (slinky), also called primary waves. Similar to sound waves. 4

5 S waves (shear) 4 5 km/s. Perpendicular to direction of movement (rope); also called secondary waves. Do not pass through liquids. Surface Waves Slowest Highest Amplitude Decay with depth Locating an Epicenter The difference between the arrival times of the P and S waves at a recording station is a function of the distance from the epicenter. But it does not tell you direction Therefore, you need at least three stations to determine the location of an epicenter. 5

6 Locating an Epicenter Measuring the Force of Earthquakes 1. Surface displacement 1964 Alaska earthquake displaced some parts of the seafloor by ~ 50 ft San Francisco earthquake moved the ground ~8.5 ft. 2. Size of area displaced Alaska 70,000 sq. miles 6

7 Measuring the Force of Earthquakes 3. Duration of shaking Up to tens of seconds 4. Intensity scales Based on damage and human perception 5. Magnitude scales based on amount of energy released Richter scale Richter scale: amount of energy received 100 km from epicenter Largest quake ever recorded = 8.9 (rocks not strong enough for more). Earthquakes less than M = 2 are not felt by people. Scale is logarithmic: Increase 1 unit = 10 times greater shaking Increase 1 unit = 30 times greater energy How Much Energy Released Versus How Often 7

8 Intensity Scale Intensity Scale Intensities Associated With the 1811 Earthquake at New Madrid, Missouri note a shortcoming of intensity scales: not very many people lived to the west of this EQ so no intensity observations are available. 8

9 Determining the Type of Earthquake From Seismic Data Fault motion of different kinds of faults (normal, reverse, shear) will produce distinctive seismic wave characteristics Atom Bomb is push in all directions Distribution of Earthquakes not random focused around plate margins (but also seen in plate interiors) 9

10 California: Broad Zone of Deformation between Plates & Lots of Earthquakes Damage depends on Construction/Population 10

11 Earthquake Damage: Ground Motion 3 waves hit at different times and with different times of motion Highest amplitude comes last when buildings are already damaged Earthquakes don t kill people, buildings kill people. Earthquake Damage: Fire Troops patrolling Market Street, San Francisco 11

12 Earthquake Damage: Landslides all kinds of mass wasting liquefaction sudden loss of strength in water-saturated sediment buildings fall down intact Earthquake Damage: Tsunami Earthquake Damage: Tsunami Indonesia

13 Earthquake Prediction Long term imprecise (but possible) Short term precise (very difficult) We can't stop earthquakes, so we have to be prepared for them Potential Earthquake Hazard, USA Fig Potential Earthquake Hazard, Worldwide Haiti Loss of Life/Property in Haiti primarily due to poor construction 13

14 Earthquake Prediction: Seismic Gap Method Areas which have not had a recent large earthquake at highest risk because energy is stored in rocks Earthquake Prediction Small earthquakes Ground tilting Change in water levels in wells Change in acoustic or electrical properties Animal behavior? Be Prepared! California Japan 14

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