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Questions tagged [earthquakes]

Questions regarding a sudden release of seismic waves into the Earth's crust. As well as the causes of earthquakes, their consequences and physics.

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44 votes
6 answers
108k views

Are Richter-magnitude 10 earthquakes possible?

The largest earthquake since 1900 according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) was Richter-9.5 magnitude quake in Chile in 1960. Are magnitude 10 earthquakes possible? If so, what is the ...
blunders's user avatar
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33 votes
3 answers
13k views

Is it true that earthquakes are not felt in a cave?

I took a tour of a cave in northern California last weekend. The tour guide asked us, "If an earthquake occurred, what would we feel in here?" My answer was, "fear," but she said we would feel ...
B. Clay Shannon-B. Crow Raven's user avatar
32 votes
8 answers
3k views

Is earthquake prediction possible?

After the Tohoku and East Coast quakes, I skimmed over several books discussing the validity of earthquake prediction as a discipline, yet found no significant breakthroughs. What should change in our ...
Deer Hunter's user avatar
  • 2,103
27 votes
4 answers
4k views

Can mining trigger earthquakes?

Are earthquakes more common in mining regions than they would otherwise be? e.g. is the frequency of earthquakes in those regions different when mining is occurring than when it is not? I am ...
naught101's user avatar
  • 5,435
22 votes
3 answers
444 views

Is fracking likely to produce earthquakes?

Post Christchurch-2011 earthquake, there was much concern that fracking in the surrounding areas might lead to further quakes, as was rumoured to have happened elsewhere in the world. Is there ...
Mark Mayo's user avatar
  • 848
20 votes
2 answers
939 views

How does one measure what causes earthquakes?

I know that they occur when energy that was previously stored is released in seismic waves. But how is the energy stored in the earth in the first place, and what can trigger the release of such ...
Tom Au's user avatar
  • 2,244
20 votes
2 answers
48k views

How do seismologists locate the epicenter and focus of an earthquake?

I know the focus of an earthquake is where the earthquake originated from, but what I could never figure out is, how to scientists find out where exactly the focus (and epicenter) are located?
Azzie Rogers's user avatar
  • 2,842
19 votes
1 answer
356 views

Can large (and wet) storms really trigger large magnitude Earthquakes?

At the 2011 AGU Fall meeting, this poster claimed that the water erosion from Taiwan's wettest storms could prematurely trigger large magnitude earthquakes , $ M \ge 6.0 $. If this was true, this ...
Neo's user avatar
  • 6,456
19 votes
1 answer
576 views

What are the physical upper bounds on the magnitude of an earthquake?

Given what we know about the physical mechanisms underlying earthquakes, what do the theoretical upper bounds on the magnitude of an earthquake look like? What physical phenomena impose those upper ...
senshin's user avatar
  • 1,885
18 votes
5 answers
4k views

Why aren't seismic stations installed very deep underground so as to pre-warn from earthquakes?

The velocity of p-waves emanating from earthquakes is in the range of 5-8 km/s (link)--let's assume it is 5 km/s. The earthquake depth is up to hundreds of kms deep underground (link)--let's assume it ...
student1's user avatar
  • 291
17 votes
1 answer
501 views

Can earthquakes contribute to Antarctic ice loss?

I read about the earthquake that took place in Japan in 2011, led to some small calving events in Antarctica (link). So, it makes me think if there is a big earthquake near or in Antarctica, can it ...
Vikram's user avatar
  • 785
16 votes
1 answer
363 views

Potential explanations of Red Sea crossing

I am looking for a believable explanation of the Red Sea Crossing in the Bible. This would involve either strong winds(which is mentioned in the Bible) or plate tectonics which could cause land to ...
user1278255's user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
417 views

How are Earth's rotational changes due to large earthquakes calculated?

According to NASA (and many other sources), Japan Quake May Have Shortened Earth Days, Moved Axis and in the answers to the question here What geophysical events can (temporarily) increase the Earth's ...
user avatar
15 votes
3 answers
5k views

Do other terrestrial planets have "earthquakes"?

I know some planets have storms akin to what we have on Earth although obviously varying in nature. I was wondering if other planets have earthquakes? Since this comes down to plate tectonics (right?...
Stan Shunpike's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Interpretation of a seismogram (three components)

In most cases (as shown in the figure below), a seismogram shows data from three components: North-South East-West Vertical/depth(z) However, if these components are not marked and all we have are ...
shrey's user avatar
  • 1,489
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

What does it mean when the depth of earthquakes get near the surface over a period of time?

First of all, I am not expert at this so correct me. My hometown is Shiraz and since last year I can sense the earth is moving. I call them mini earthquakes. But many people around me can not sense ...
user70808's user avatar
  • 251
15 votes
3 answers
632 views

Did the Geothermal Power Plant contribute to Pahoa's Lava Fissures?

There was lava in the area near the wells that the Puna Geothermal Venture facility created. The plant has nine wells that run as deep as 8,000 feet, according to Wil Okabe, managing director for ...
Travis J's user avatar
  • 253
15 votes
1 answer
277 views

How to compute the earthquake occurrence probability under ETAS model

I have fitted an ETAS model (unmarked) with an independent exponential magnitude distribution to a set of earthquake data. However, I do not know how to calculate the probability of the earthquake ...
user99015's user avatar
  • 251
15 votes
0 answers
168 views

What are the ground motion prediction equations for 3-D ruptures?

Ground motion prediction equations (GMPEs) estimate ground motion at any given site due to an earthquake at a distance. There are many such equations, each with different parameters. Can somebody ...
user590's user avatar
  • 361
14 votes
1 answer
6k views

If a very huge Earthquake occured anywhere on Earth could waves emerge to come together again on the opposite side?

Suppose that a super-powerful earthquake occurred anywhere on Earth, say one with the value 10 on Richter's scale. The quake can have any value but as can be read in a comment below the highest value ...
Deschele Schilder's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why are there more intense earthquakes in Iran than in Iraq?

Why are there more intense earthquakes in Iran than in Iraq, if they are so close together? I often hear news items of earthquakes in Iran that are higher on the Richter Scale than those that happen ...
Reuven's user avatar
  • 341
14 votes
1 answer
726 views

Successful Earthquake predictions

Have there been any instances where seismologists have successfully predicted the occurrence of earthquakes? If so, then why has the number of scientists working on this area has declined (as ...
shrey's user avatar
  • 1,489
14 votes
2 answers
3k views

Characterizing earthquakes using accelerometer data

Is there a way to use accelerometer data to characterize earthquake intensity, e.g., on Richter scale?
Michael Rogers's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

What tectonic mechanisms cause the North and South Islands of New Zealand to be so geologically different?

New Zealand is a very active seismic and volcanic region of the Pacific Ring of Fire, on the boundary of the Australian and Pacific Plates; however, there is a difference between the 2 islands: ...
user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
212 views

How are Richter magnitudes of past earthquakes estimated?

In reading about historical major earthquakes, in particular, the Great Shaanxi Earthquake that killed approximately 830,000 people in July, 1556, there is a claim made about the approximate Richter ...
user avatar
13 votes
4 answers
4k views

Is there a correlation between hot springs and earthquakes?

Is there a correlation between how many hot springs an area has, and how frequent or severe the area's earthquakes are?
Andrew Grimm's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
3k views

What are the distinguishing features of an "artificial seismic wave" (e.g. a large underground explosion)

IN the NPR news item North Korea Possibly Conducts Sixth Nuclear Test, South Korea Says: The U.S. Geological Survey says it detected a 6.3 magnitude "possible explosion" near Sungjibaegam, ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 7,122
13 votes
3 answers
3k views

Is it possible for Earth to experience Polar Shift?

Many accounts claim that the Magnetic Field of the Earth has been seriously degrading for the past centuries and we are currently in the process of the so called Polar Shift. How likely would it be ...
stack's user avatar
  • 232
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why does the "Ring of Fire" pretty much define "Pacific Rim"

The Pacific Rim is pretty much defined by the so-called "Ring of Fire." It consists of the "stomping ground" for a disproportionate number of earthquakes and volcanoes, and the affected territory ...
Tom Au's user avatar
  • 2,244
13 votes
1 answer
5k views

Using accelerometer as a seismograph

I'm using ADXL345 accelerometer with Raspberry Pi to build a seismograph. I've successfully hooked it up and can plot the accelerometer data in three axis. Is there any way to express these data in ...
yode's user avatar
  • 133
13 votes
2 answers
7k views

The relation between the magnitude and duration of earthquake

I am asking this question in reference to the recent earthquake that struck Nepal last month. I read that the magnitude 7.8 richter scale earhtquake would have caused more damage had it lasted for ...
Four Seasons's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
247 views

Epicenter location of the 900-930 A.D.,7.4 Magnitude Seattle Earthquake?

I am preparing a seismic hazard map of Seattle and I was curious about the great 7.4 magnitude earthquake that occurred in the Seattle area during 900-930 A.D. On a second note, is it possible to ...
Guru Rahul Pradhan's user avatar
13 votes
4 answers
441 views

Can an earthquake occurring within two plates trigger another earthquake in a far away plate boundary?

Can an earthquake occurring between two plates, like the Pacific Plate and North American Plate cause any effect which would trigger an earthquake in a far away place like the boundary between the ...
user2990's user avatar
  • 131
12 votes
3 answers
14k views

If the Bennu asteroid were to hit within a 500 mile radius of Yellowstone National Park, will it trigger a super volcano at Yellowstone?

I am curious to know if it would be highly probable that if the Bennu asteroid were to hit the Earth in 2182, and the point of impact is within a 500 mile radius of Yellowstone National Park, will it ...
user57467's user avatar
  • 401
12 votes
4 answers
3k views

What do the derivative or the integral of amplitude of a seismogram mean?

I'm doing a project in which I'm analyzing earthquake seismogram waves. I used a program to graph the exact amplitudes and how they changed over the course of a single earthquake. For the project I ...
Neeeedhelp's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
4k views

Would the shaking of an earthquake be visible to somebody in a low-flying aircraft?

If you are in an airplane well above ground level, but low enough to see the faces of people relatively easily, and an earthquake happens, will you see the ground shake?
carl sagan's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
18k views

How to compare earthquake magnitudes

On the USGS website, it says Because of the logarithmic basis of the scale, each whole number increase in magnitude represents a tenfold increase in measured amplitude; However my book says ...
TeamA1's user avatar
  • 121
12 votes
1 answer
272 views

Do seismic travel times from one location to another differ based on factors other than distance?

Bit puzzled why it appears that seismic travel times from one location to another appears to just be a function of the distance, and not any other factors. Do seismic travel times from one location ...
blunders's user avatar
  • 4,611
12 votes
2 answers
685 views

What determines the spectrum of high and low frequency waves emitted by an earthquake?

Does the shape of the fault that the earthquake originated from determine its ratio of high frequency to low frequency waves? What about shallow-fault vs deep subduction zone earthquakes?
InquilineKea's user avatar
  • 7,827
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

Can climate change cause earthquakes, tsunamis, or volcanic eruptions?

Different scientists have brought forth a theory that climate change can cause earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions. For example: Professor Bill McGuire of University College London in his ...
THelper's user avatar
  • 420
12 votes
1 answer
582 views

Where and how can seismic data for earthquakes and volcanoes be downloaded?

I need it in this format. I went to USGS and IRIS websites but couldn't understand the downloading procedure
shrey's user avatar
  • 1,489
11 votes
4 answers
5k views

Are there any other earthquake magnitude scales other than Richter's?

There are sometimes confusion about the magnitude of Earthquakes. What scales, other than Richter's, are used to measure the magnitude of an earthquake? Is there a scale where magnitude 9.0 is ...
Ivan's user avatar
  • 111
11 votes
2 answers
6k views

Is the epicenter always directly above the hypocenter?

All the graphics I've seen showing epicenters with a hypocenter (labeled focus in the graph below) appear to show that epicenters are always directly above their related hypocenters. Is this correct?
blunders's user avatar
  • 4,611
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

What impact on climate did 2011 earthquake and tsunami have?

The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami was one of the biggest in modern history; the earthquake even moved Earth's axis for a very small, but measurable bit. The four years since then is not enough ...
Pavel V.'s user avatar
  • 976
11 votes
2 answers
680 views

Is it possible to prevent high magnitude earthquakes by induced earthquakes?

As we know, earthquakes can be induced by human activities. Can we induce earthquakes around faults regularly so that the energy releases regularly, and hence prevent high magnitude earthquakes by ...
Gstestso's user avatar
  • 1,379
11 votes
1 answer
354 views

Relation between fault rupture aspect ratio and slip rate?

I am modeling a fault surface (which I consider to be a plane rectangle). I got the area of the surface, but the orientation is unknown, which can be found out if the aspect ratio of the rectangle is ...
user590's user avatar
  • 361
10 votes
2 answers
368 views

What is the reasoning behind the statement "Faulting will occur along the plane where the shear stress is the highest"?

In "An Introduction to Seismology, Earthquakes and Earth Structure", authors Seth Stein and Michael Wysession made the statement: "Faulting will occur along the plane where the shear stress is the ...
shrey's user avatar
  • 1,489
10 votes
1 answer
4k views

Earthquakes at plate boundaries

I was looking into tectonic plate boundaries and earthquakes with pictures like these One thing that is quite obvious is that some of the plate boundaries have very thin zones of earthquakes, ...
M. Kim's user avatar
  • 101
9 votes
2 answers
2k views

Will a nuclear bomb stop an earthquake from happening?

I was recently watching the San Andreas trailer and a thought occurred to me as to how best to prevent earthquakes. I figured, why not nuke it? My professor said that it's possible for nukes to stop ...
AHungerArtist's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
1k views

Why do some earthquakes and volcanoes occur within plates?

I know that volcanoes and earthquakes occur on plate margins. But, do some of them also occur within plates?
user1's user avatar
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