Tennessee. Earthquakes Good and Bad. The Bad: Cause significant injury, destruction of property, and loss of life. West New Madrid Seismic Zone

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1 Earthquakes Good and Bad The Bad: Cause significant injury, destruction of property, and loss of life The Good: Energy released during earthquakes (seismic energy) provides much information about Earth s interior Tennessee West New Madrid Seismic Zone Last significant EQ s in (New Madrid, MO; Mag approx. 8) East Southern Appalachian Seismic Zone Last significant EQ s in 1897 (VA, Mag approx 5.8) and 1973 (TN; Mag = 4.7) New Madrid, MO New Madrid Fault Zone 1

2 Southern Appalachian Seismic Zone Tennessee Energy Map Important Definitions Storage of Elastic Energy as Solid Material Undergoes Strain Earthquake shaking of the Earth caused by the release of elastic energy Elastic Energy energy stored in a rock when the rock is under stress (a force) Strain change in shape/size of rock when it is under stress Important Definitions Elastic Deformation when stress is removed, rock returns to its original shape and size Plastic Deformation when stress is removed, rock does not return to its original shape and size Important Definitions Elastic Limit the maximum stress a rock can withstand without permanent change in shape/size Brittle Fracture (Elastic Rebound) occurs when the amount of elastic energy a rock can store is exceeded. The elastic energy is suddenly released in all directions to surrounding rock as seismic energy. 2

3 Release of Elastic Energy as Solid Material Undergoes Brittle Fracture (Elastic Rebound) Elastic Limit Elastic energy released during an earthquake is called seismic energy Important Definitions Fault fracture surface along which rock on either side has moved Focus point along fault surface from which seismic energy is released Epicenter point on Earth s surface directly above the focus Important Definitions Seismic Wave wave of seismic energy that travels through the Earth Seismology the study of seismic waves Seismologist a geologist who studies the properties of seismic waves in order to better understand the Earth s interior Types of Seismic Waves Surface Waves Travel along Earth s surface Up and down rolling and side to side vibrating motion Body Waves Primary (P) Waves Compression-expansion Secondary (S) Waves Snake wave 3

4 Surface Waves Surface Waves Effects of Surface Waves Primary (P) Waves Primary (P) Waves Secondary (S) Waves 4

5 Secondary (S) Waves Important Properties of Seismic Waves P-waves Move through solids and liquids S-Waves Move through solids only Relative Velocities: P-waves are fastest S-waves are second fastest Surface waves are slowest Important Properties of Seismic Waves The velocity of any seismic wave is directly proportional to the density of the material through which it is traveling If a seismic wave encounters material of higher density, it speeds up If a seismic wave encounters material of lower density, it slows down Tools Used to Study Seismic Waves Seismograph instrument which records ground motion (vibration rate and vibration direction) during an earthquake Seismogram the written record of ground motion, as recorded by the seismograph 5

6 Earthquake Magnitude A measure of the energy released during an earthquake Is expressed in terms of a logarithmic scale: Each increment of 1.0 is approximately equal to a 30-fold increase in amount of seismic energy released (text says 32-fold increase) Each increment of 1.0 is approximately equal to a 10-fold increase in maximum wave amplitude recorded on the seismogram Determining the Magnitude Need to know: Absolute difference in arrival time between the P-wave and the S-wave (determined from seismogram), or distance between seismograph and the epicenter Amplitude of the maximum seismic wave recorded on the seismogram Use nomogram to graphically determine the magnitude Worldwide earthquakes per year (from USGS): Descriptor Magnitude Average Annually Great 8 and higher 1 ¹ Major ² Strong ² Moderate ² Light ,000 (est.) Minor ,000 (est.) Very Minor ,300,000 (est.) ¹ Based on observations since ² Based on observations since Largest Earthquakes Since 1900 Location Date UTC Magnitude Earthquake Intensity 1. Chile Prince William Sound, Alaska Off the West Coast of Northern Sumatra Kamchatka Off the Coast of Ecuador Rat Islands, Alaska Northern Sumatra, Indonesia Andreanof Islands, Alaska Assam - Tibet Kuril Islands Banda Sea, Indonesia A measure of how bad an earthquake is. Reflects such factors as: Distance from focus/epicenter Type of subsurface material Bedrock minimum deformation Loose sediment/soil maximum deformation, may undergo liquefaction Earthquake magnitude Population Civic preparedness 12. Kamchatka

7 Earthquake Intensity - Mercalli Scale Locating the Epicenter Need to know for three seismograms: Absolute difference in arrival time between first P-wave and first S-wave (from seismogram) Distance between each seismogram and the earthquake epicenter (from travel-time curves) Determine difference in P-wave, S- wave arrival time: Determine distance to epicenter: Locate epicenter by graphical triangulation: Tsunami seismic sea wave 7

8 12/26/04 Indonesia Tsunami Mag 9.0 Andaman Islands-Sumatra Earthquake December 26, 2004 Flooding Lhoknga, Indonesia 8

9 Loss of Life > 200,000 killed and missing Approximate length of rupture along fault Seismogram Deep-Ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis DART Other Causes of EQ Destruction Landslides may block roads, preventing rescue personnel from reaching victims Ground Subsidence/liquefaction Fire due to rupture of natural gas and electrical lines 9

10 Nisqually, WA earthquake-induced landslide (2001) Lanslide, Prince William Sound, Alaska (1964) Landslide hazards exist along many highways in eastern and middle Tennessee Land Subsidence Kobe Japan, 1995 What potential problem does this present in the case of a major earthquake in west or east Tennessee? Natural Gas Fire, Los Angeles (1994) North America Earthquakes 10

11 Estimated Mercalli intensities for a magnitude 6.5 earthquake along the New Madrid fault zone. USGS National Seismic Hazard Map ( earthquakes estimated at magnitude 8.0 or higher) N. California EQ Probabilities, Next 30 Years California Earthquake Probabilities ( ) Charleston, SC Anchorage, Alaska Felt as far away as St. Louis and Chicago Magnitude 9.2 greatest North American magnitude earthquake 11

12 Mag 8.1 Mexico City Memphis high risk of liquefaction Effects of liquefaction San Francisco, 1989 San Francisco, 1989 Los Angeles, 1994 Earthquake Preparedness Best Practices Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reiterates its long-standing advice for staying as safe as possible during an earthquake: DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON. 12

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