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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14
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3answers
323 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 ...
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1answer
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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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2k views

How do you calculate the depth of penetration in a Schlumberger array?

In a resistivity survey, how do we calculate the depth of penetration for a Schlumberger array?
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1answer
157 views

What efforts have been made to separate the microseismic events related to wind-related ocean waves from the components of volcanic origin?

I have read the question What generates the microseism? and it's accompanying answer. In [#1, cited below], they use the azimuth values of seismographic activity on the flanks of the volcano ...
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What are the factors that dictate a given topology for seismometer placement around a volcano?

The image below (borrowed from [#1]) shows the topology of the seismometers around the volcano Stromboli. In the text, they explain the following: The seimometers were set on the flanks of the ...
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1answer
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What makes the conditions at the core/mantle boundary ideal for aluminum to combine with other elements besides oxygen?

Recently, steinhardite was accepted as a new mineral by the International Mineralogical Association. It's quite an interesting story in its own right. There's an interesting article in New Scientist ...
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86 views

Are there measurement techniques that can help determine the exact geometry of a volcanic vent?

In a previous question What happens to the higher frequency content of the tremors associated with a volcanic eruption?, I asked about the high(er) frequency content of a volcanic eruption. In the ...
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1answer
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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 ...
14
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1answer
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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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1answer
352 views

Why do Euler poles for plate motions not stay fixed in time?

Surely if a plate motion is a straight line across a sphere, this can be described by a fixed Euler pole, however I've been reading about a problem which I confess I don't fully understand which is ...
11
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1answer
229 views

What happens to the higher frequency content of the tremors associated with a volcanic eruption?

From [1]: The main characteristics of volcanic tremor depend strongly on whether a volcano is erupting explosively and on the intensity of the event. Long before an eruption, tremor is ‘narrow-...
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1answer
387 views

Is the cause of Old Faithful's bimodal distribution for eruption times straightforward?

From wikipedia: With a margin of error of 10 minutes, Old Faithful will erupt 65 minutes after an eruption lasting less than 2.5 minutes or 91 minutes after an eruption lasting more than 2.5 ...
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Why won't Yellowstone explode?

From my understanding Yellowstone is a massive super-volcano, so why isn't it active? Where has its (correct me if I'm using the wrong term) hot-spot gone? Can it still erupt?
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1answer
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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 ...
11
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1answer
223 views

Generic pedo-transfer functions to compute field capacity and wilting point from sand/silt/clay?

I have a model (Miguez et al 2008) that defines wilting point as the soil water content below which there is no transpiration (from Johnson et al 1993). Field capacity is defined as the volume of ...
13
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1answer
203 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 ...
11
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1answer
396 views

How long did it take for Earth's magnetic field to first appear?

Merely what the title states. My knowledge of geography/geology/*logy is limited to high-school, and some snippets, and snatches of conversation. As I understand Earth's magnetic field is attributed ...
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1answer
325 views

Is heavier bodies fall faster than lighter ones [closed]

Suppose we have two stones, the first being lighter than the second. Release the two stones from a height to fall to Earth. Stone 2, being heavier than stone 1, falls more rapidly. If they are joined ...
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3answers
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Can the overuse of geothermal energy become an environmental concern? [duplicate]

At what power output would we be using so much geothermal energy that we cool the core enough to endanger the Earth's magnetic field and have to stop using it? Is this a conceivable concern for a ...
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1answer
180 views

Geometrical differences of subduction zones

I am looking for geometrical differences in subduction zones. What are the differences, in dip, curvature of the interface, thickness of the plates etc.? There are differences between the Chile and ...
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2answers
571 views

Why is there Uranium in Earth's Crust?

Uranium's density is greater than most elements, so you would expect it to settle to the bottom of a volume of fluid. In the case of the Earth, which was molten in the beginning, you might then expect ...
11
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1answer
304 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 ...
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2answers
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Natural nuclear explosions

I'm aware of the Oklo reactor and other natural nuclear fission reactors, in which geological processes can lead to the formation of a sustained, self-regulating uranium fission reactor. Is it also ...
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1answer
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Probability distribution of fault throw displacement and height limiting mechanisms

First, what is the probability distribution of fault throw displacement. Uniform distribution seems unlikely, since then small changes would add up to huge huge elevation differences that require a ...
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1answer
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P wave to S wave conversion

While passing through layers inside the earth some P waves get converted to S waves and then back to P waves while returning towards the surface. Is this statement true? If yes, then why? (...
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0answers
142 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 ...
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1answer
586 views

Why is the Ring of Fire there? [duplicate]

The Ring of Fire goes through the places that have the most earthquakes. Why is the Ring of Fire there, not somewhere else? Any help would be appreciated!
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How do I derive the formula for lithostatic (overburden) pressure?

The title pretty much says it. I have the formula: $P = \rho g h$ where $\rho$ is the density, $h$ is how deep the pressure is in the Earth and $g$ is the gravitational acceleration(?). I don't get ...
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1answer
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What is a fault?

Curious if to what degree it is possible to cluster epicentres as originating from a single formation/fault? Seems like it is possible that apart of the issue might being able to map the hypocentre of ...
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2answers
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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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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
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What is a massif and what differentiates it from other types of mountains?

Wikipedia says that a massif is "a section of a planet's crust that is demarcated by faults or flexures." It goes on to list mountain-like objects. Is it not true that most mountains are created by ...
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2answers
367 views

What geophysical events can (temporarily) increase the Earth's rate of rotation?

My understanding is that the dominant factor behind the slowing of the Earth's rotation (i.e. the lengthening of the day) is tidal friction induced by the Moon's gravity. As seen on the graph below, ...
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2answers
335 views

What properties must a rocky body possess in order to exhibit plate tectonics?

The Earth exhibits plate tectonics, but the other terrestrial planets do not (though Mars and Venus may have exhibited plate tectonics in the past). What is "special" about Earth that allows it to ...
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1answer
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When a tectonic plate subducts, does any of the subducted material melt, or is it just the mantle above the subducted slab that melts?

I know that water released from oceanic crust causes melting of the mantle in subduction zones, but does any part of the subducted slab melt as well - such as the sediments on the slab or the basalt? ...
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Why does the wind periodically change direction?

Image Subtitle: Wind going across the page - and changing direction To clarify, imagine you were sat in a boat in the middle of a lake recording the wind direction every minute. You notice that the ...
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2answers
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Why is colored seismic inversion called 'colored'?

One of the seismic inversion algorithms is called 'colored' inversion. It is performed in the frequency domain and the point is in building an operator that directly transforms a seismic trace into ...
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1answer
315 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 ...
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3answers
535 views

Are there any techniques for imaging the deep Earth besides seismic waves?

It is well-known that we can learn a lot about the structure of the lower crust, mantle, and core by observing the ways in which they refract different kinds of seismic waves. Do we have any other ...
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8answers
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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 ...
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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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6answers
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Does volcanic activity fluctuate?

According to this person's surmises, volcanic activity appers to be increasing. However, according to this report, volcanic activity is probably not increasing. My question is: Does Volcanic activity ...
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3answers
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What geophysical instruments should I use to detect water without drilling?

How can one detect (preferably artesian) aquifers nowadays that a lot of sensors are available? Should I use ground-penetrating radars, neutron detectors, or any other advanced devices? Can seismic ...
12
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1answer
176 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 ...
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2answers
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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?
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4answers
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What would a replacement for SEGY look like?

I have been having a miserable time this week reading SEGY files. This is data from the largest seismic acquisition company in the world whose client is the 7th largest oil company in the world. So if ...
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1answer
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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
225 views

Do normal modes of oscillation cause permanent deformation?

It is known that when a large earthquake occurs, say $M \ge 9.0$, The surface waves travel around Earth over and over, "ringing the surface like a bell". The GIF below is an example (Image Source): ...
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How far from basalt bedrock can magnetometic survey find archaeological features?

Magnetometry is used to find archaeological features such as stone walls or ancient hearth. But it usually cannot be used for archaeological prospection in areas where the bedrock is strongly magnetic....
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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 ...