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Questions tagged [geophysics]

Geophysics is a subject of natural science concerned with the physical processes and physical properties of the Earth and its surrounding space environment.

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If all the world's ice were to melt, would this shift the earth's centre of gravity with consequential effects on sea levels?

This question on Maths SE asked how we might calculate the effect on sea level if all the world's ice (ie including the whole Antarctic ice sheet) were to melt. I posted an answer containing ...
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Near-Surface Investigations: FWI vs. MASW

MASW is a common processing method for civil/geotechnical and even for oil/gas exploration (usually weathering static corrections) applications. In my experience, it seems to work well for most ...
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How does multiple layer seismic reflection work? How do we distinguish arrivals from different layers and their velocities?

Whenever we are investigating multiple layer interfaces in a seismic reflection survey the root-mean-squared velocity is often employed to deduce travel time to a certain n-th layer and also to deduce ...
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Barotropic vorticity equation

I came across the barotropic vorticity equation (below) in Sakamoto (2002) and I cannot figure it out. The notation is not clear to me. How can it be derived from the Navier-Stokes equation? $$ \beta\...
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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?
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Why do we consider hydrostatic pressure and lithostatic pressure separately?

In petroleum geology, why do we consider hydrostatic pressure and lithostatic pressure separately? Surely the pressure at any point, whether fluid or rock, at depth is simply equal the weight of all ...
2
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1answer
177 views

How to correct PSMSL data for GIA?

I have a PSMSL RLR (revised local reference) sea level dataset with records from various tide gauges. Can anyone explain how to correct them for GIA (glacial isostatic adjustment) using the ICE-5G ...
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Can extratropical cyclones force global cooling?

We are living in a historical period of global warming since about 20,000 years ago. This global warming period is one of about ten in human history. Those periods may very well be forced to start by ...
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How can I calculate the sensitivity of a seismometer?

I would like to know if a specific seismometer can measure 1 micron/sec velocity. I have a few specs from the datasheet but I'm not a seismologist and am trying to figure out how to relate the specs ...
2
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1answer
57 views

Travel Times for Seismic Wave Types - Why reflected t-x plot curves

I do not understand how the reflected wave in a seismic survey has a steepening slope (slows down) Please bear with me as I lay out my thoughts because I feel like I can grasp all of this except this ...
14
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1answer
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Is Iceland an example of a hot-spot overlying a mantle plume?

Iceland has been cited as the location of a hot-spot overlying a mantle plume (similar to that of the Hawaii chain in the Pacific), though for some time this model has been challenged (see Gillian ...
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Why is the temperature between the earth core and surface not distributed linearly?

So I read somewhere that the inner core temperature of Earth might be as high as 7000 °C. Depending on the composition of the different layers towards the surface, the temperature should decline ...
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What are the causes of the supercontinent cycle?

Throughout geologic history, Earth's continents have broken apart and come together to form supercontinents multiple times, in a somewhat regular period, known as the supercontinent cycle. The length ...
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How long until Earth's core solidifies?

How much longer does Earth have until the core turns solid? Does global warming change these estimates at all?
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How did tectonic plates originally come to form?

Plate tectonics is a theory which describes Earth's lithosphere as being composed of distinct plates which are able to move atop of the underlying asthenosphere. At plate boundaries, this movement ...
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2answers
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Did the impact event that caused the Chicxulub-Crater definitively and single-handedly cause the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction?

Opinions abound on the web. What is the state of the current science regarding this theory and what is the best evidence? Is the theory gaining or losing traction? If it's losing what's the best of ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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4answers
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Will the Earth ever stop rotating?

It is well known that the Earth's rotation is slowing down and that millions of years ago there was a point in time where there was only a mere 20 hours in a day on Earth. My question is in two parts....
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Why does sea level correspond to boundary between oceanic and continental crust?

Is it a coincidence? the first is determined by the amount of water on the Earth and the second comes from evolution of tectonic plates. Still, oceans seem to fill exactly the oceanic crust.
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What causes intra-plate faults, such as the New Madrid fault?

There's been news (some recently) about the New Madrid fault and other active intra-plate faults. For those living in the midwest of the United States, it's been a bit of a shock to learn they have ...
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1answer
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Why are oceanic plates denser than continental plates?

In the theory of tectonic plates, at a convergent boundary between a continental plate and an oceanic plate, the denser plate usually subducts underneath the less dense plate. It is well known that ...
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2answers
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To what accuracy and precision do we know the volume of the Earth?

Satellites such as GOCE and GRACE measure the geoid with unprecedented accuracy. Altimeters can determine local surface elevation with millimetre-precision. This makes me wonder: to what precision ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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443 views

Rossby radius as horizontal scale

In the introduction of "Geographical and monthly variability of the first baroclinic Rossby radius of deformation in the South China Sea", the authors states: In both theoretical and observational ...
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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 ...
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Why Earth's outer core does not dissolve into the mantle?

It is well accepted that the outer core is made out of liquid iron and nickel, and as everything else it should tend to reach chemical equilibrium with its surrounding. In particular, I would expect ...
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Which ocean is going to be swallowed by the Supercontinent Cycle, Atlantic or Pacific?

The register shows several supercontinents have been formed on Earth's History: "The most recent supercontinent, Pangaea, formed about 300 million years ago (0.3 Ga). There are two different ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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3answers
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Why is Earth's inner core made of an iron-nickel alloy?

This question has puzzled me for a while. I know that earth's mantle is made of different minerals, metals and rocks etc. and that has always made complete sense to me. But why is the inner core made ...
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6answers
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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 ...
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2answers
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Farthest point from the center of the Earth

At first glance, this seems like such a simple question of "What's the highest point on Earth". However, I also know that the Earth isn't perfectly round. So that "highest point" may be in a ...
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1answer
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Why the “Mission to Earth’s core” proposal suggests using liquid iron instead of lead?

Nature communications article "Mission to Earth's core — a modest proposal", suggests placing a large volume of liquid iron in a crack and let it sink all the way to the Earth's core, carrying along a ...
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1answer
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Where on Earth is the most windless lake with its own micro climate sea breeze?

Would a circular lake have enough of sea breeze strong to create a gentle vortex in the center of the lake? Is there such a place on Earth where lake micro climate vortexes occur frequently? The ...
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Hydrology- flow accumulation

I'm not specialist in hydrology, and I would be very grateful if you answer my question: What is flow accumulation in hydrology? Why algorithms used to calculate it over a raster DEM don't take ...
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Is there a “submerged object” in Australia that causes a magnetic deviation of 20 degrees?

This answer quotes this blogpost as an example of a magnetic anomaly: Basalt formation, “Mt. Jim”, in remote north-east Victoria, Australia, has a magnetic anomaly -20 degree magnetic compass ...
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1answer
646 views

Which type of convergent boundary creates the tallest mountains? [closed]

Which type of convergent boundary creates the tallest mountains? Continental-Continental Ocean-Ocean Ocean-Continental
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1answer
156 views

Why doesn't Earth absorb our carbon emissions?

If we look at the carbon cycle, we see that man-made carbon emission only account for a tiny fraction of all $\text{CO}_2$ emissions. However, we see a steady rise in atmospheric $\text{CO}_2$-levels....
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2answers
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Megathrust earthquakes on subduction zones

I am a beginner in geology and earthquake studies, and learning about subduction zones recently. Question is: do large earthquakes (sometimes referred to as megathrust quakes) occur on any point in ...
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1answer
269 views

Unwarranted claim of higher degree of accuracy in zircon geochronology

The uncertainty in the half life of uranium-238 is stated at 0.05% [1]. The same paper gives the date 251.941 myr ± 31 kyr. 251.941 $\times$ 0.05% = 125 kyr. How are the authors justified in ...
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0answers
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What is the minimum temperature difference to drive mantle convection?

The condition for convection to cease is that the Rayleigh number $$\mathrm{Ra}=\frac{g\rho\alpha L^3\Delta T}{\kappa\nu}\lessapprox 10^3.$$ For the Earth's mantle I have seen estimates of $\mathrm{Ra}...
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1answer
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Equations for Milankovitch Factors?

Are there equations for the radiative forcings of the three Milankovitch factors at any given time? Or a database of values?
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1answer
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What will be the temperature on Earth when Sun finishes its main sequence?

We know that presently Sun is 4.5 billion years into its main sequence. It has another 5 billion years before it enters the Red Giant phase. We also know that Sun's luminosity increases by 10% every ...
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Why an inertial gyro has a frequency and a geostrophic gyro does not?

Inertial flow is given by the balance between Coriolis and centrifugal forces. A geostrophic flow is given by a balance between Coriolis and the gradients of pressure. The frequency of the inertial ...
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0answers
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Seismic data acquisition: reliability of high-bandwidth data

In my research, finding and understanding info relating to the lower end of (conventional) surface seismic data acquisition (i.e. 15 - 1 Hz) is relatively simple. However, when I look at specs for a ...
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0answers
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transition elastic deformation to flow

Let's assume a small (and smooth) vertical deformation of the seabed. If done quickly, I can consider it a vertical force generating an acoustic wave in the water, where every particle of water ...
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1answer
174 views

Why do we measure eustatic sea-level from the center of earth?

Earth is rotating so it has a ellipsoidal shape. The measurement will therefore be different from equator and pole. So why do we measure eustatic sea-level from the center of earth?
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2answers
115 views

Why did the carboniferous period have so much atmospheric oxygen?

Even if all the carbon dioxide (which makes up less than 1% of the atmosphere) in the air were sequestered by plants, would the atmosphere not remain about 21% oxygen? Why did the carboniferous period ...
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1answer
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Time standard for IERS Bulletin A

IERS Bulletin A and Bulletin B contains Earth orientation parameters. These include the time difference between UT1 and UTC and pole position. The values for these parameters are listed once per day, ...
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29 views

Love-Wave Propagation

Love-waves cannot exist in a half-space. Layering must be present and there also must be accompanied impedance contrasts associated with the layering. Because layering naturally induces seismic ...
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What structures form due to the melting of subducting plates? [closed]

What structures form from the melting of subducting plates? Plutons, Accretionary wedges, Deep sea trenches, Faults?