Seismic Earthquakes. The most common quakes occur from fault lines

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1 Earthquakes GE Natural Hazards Slides and images taken from Dr. Jim Diehl, Jason R. Evans, Joanne M. Scott and Benfiled Greig Hazard Research Centre (C471 Geohazards)

2 Tectonic Earthquakes Seismic Earthquakes The most common quakes occur from fault lines Caused by sudden breaking or shifting of rock due to built-up stresses Stresses are relieved through rebound after brittle failure

3 Other Types of Earthquakes Volcanic Earthquakes Caused by the motion of fluid within a volcanic conduit Caused by brittle failure of rock in/near volcano Explosion Earthquakes Radially propagating waves caused by an explosion Original purpose of seismic networks to monitor nuclear detonations during the cold war Collapse Earthquakes Waves created by the collapse of mines and underground caverns

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5 Plate Boundary Types Convergent- collision of tectonic plates Marine-Continental the denser marine plate will subduct below the less dense continental plate Creates large, deep earthquakes and volcanoes Continental-Continental Creates large mountain ranges, e.g. Himalayas Divergent a.k.a. Rifts Separation of plates creates gap in which magma can extrude and create new oceanic crust Transverse Plates sliding next to each other, e.g. San Andreas Fault

6 Fault Type Normal and Reverse Faults Vertical Displacement Produce fault scarps Large surface damage (landslides, slumping) Strike-slip Faults Horizontal Movement Little damage at surface rupture San Andreas Fault

7 Seismic Wave Types Body Waves present on all quakes P-wave S-wave Surface Waves dependant on size and frequency Love Waves Rayleigh Waves

8 Body Waves P (primary) Waves Similar to sound waves Compression and Expansion Travel 5-6 km/sec in the crust Transmitted through liquid or solid S (secondary) Waves Slower traveling (3.5 km/sec) Up and down movement Very destructive

9 Surface Waves Love Waves Sideways motion perpendicular to travel Like an S with no vertical component Damaging to building foundations Rayleigh Waves Rolling motion with horizontal and vertical displacement Surface Waves cause much of the damage

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11 More damage implications Mexico City (1985) amplification due to underlying lake sediments Seismic waves strongly affected by geology soil conditions topography Amplitudes can be amplified many times in water-saturated soils & sediments Amplification may also occur at ridge crests or bases depending on direction of waves wavelength compared to ridge size

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13 Mid-Plate Earthquakes 90% of earthquakes occur at plate boundaries, but mid-plate earthquakes can occur Earthquakes in the Eastern U.S. are far less frequent, but are more destructive than those out west (New Madrid, Charleston SC) Seismic waves travel farther due to the different geology

14 Seismometer Basic principle mass attached to a moveable frame when frame is shaken by seismic waves the inertia of the mass causes it s motion to lag behind relative motion recorded on rotating drum on magnetic tape or digitally Mass is damped to prevent continued oscillation Relative motion magnified up to 100s of thousands of times Horizontal and vertical seismometers

15 Triangulation Need at least 3 seismographs to triangulate Measure the time interval between the P and S waves and can determine distance Once the distance is found, a circle with radius equal to distance is drawn from the seismograph The intersection of the arcs show the epicenter

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17 Mercalli Scale Created in 1902 by Guiseppe Mercalli Based on shaking intensity, later modified for building damage Still in use by the USGS Subjective, not based on scientific data

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19 Richter Scale Developed by Charles Richter in 1935 Originally designed for southern Californian quakes Quantitative and objective method Scale is logarithmic to incorporate seismic amplitudes and ground motions that vary by many magnitudes Magnitude of local quake (M L ) defined as: the log to base10 of the maximum seismic-wave amplitude (in thousandths of a mm) recorded on a standard seismograph at a distance of 100km from the quake epicenter For each increase in magnitude, therefore, the amplitude increases ten-fold

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21 Magnitude Scale Original Richter Scale rarely used today Two other magnitude scales more commonly used P-wave magnitude (M b ) determined from the P-wave amplitude unlike S wave, not affected by the focal depth to source Surface wave magnitude (M s ) = amplitude of the largest wave in surface wave train with a period close to 20 s gives better approximation to size of a quake than M b 1964 Alaska quake had M s = 8.6 and a M b = 6.5 in terms of energy release, each point on M s scale corresponds ~ 30-fold increase in seismic energy released Another magnitude scale now in use is the Moment Magnitude (M w )

22 Moment Magnitude Measure of the total energy expended during an earthquake Useful above M L of 6.5, the Richter scale becomes less accurate above this magnitude Calculation depends on the seismic moment (shear strength of displaced rock) multiplied by the surface area of the rupture and the average slip distance of the fault

23 Frequency vs. Magnitude Descriptor Magnitude Average Annually Great 8 and higher 1 ¹ Major ² Strong ² Moderate ² Light Minor Very Minor ¹ Based on observations since ² Based on observations since ,000 (estimated) 130,000 (estimated) 1,300,000 (estimated)

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