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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19
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1answer
2k views

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
226 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 ...
19
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1answer
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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 ...
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How can we measure the thickness of the Earth's mantle? [duplicate]

According to Wikipedia the earth's mantle is approximately 2900 km (1,800 miles) thick. How is it possible to achieve such measurements? Obviously we haven't sent anything down that far to check.
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Why is Earth's outer-core liquid?

The Earth's inner core is solid because despite the enormous temperature in this region, there is also enormous pressure there, which in turn raises the melting point of iron and nickel to a value ...
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3answers
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Why is Earth's inner core solid?

I have never understood why earth's inner core is solid. Considering that the inner core is made of an iron-nickel alloy (melting point around 1350 C to 1600 C) and the temperature of the inner core ...
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4answers
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How can we determine the size and composition of Earth's inner core?

From Wikipedia: Earth's inner core is Earth's innermost part and is a primarily solid ball with a radius of about 1,220 km (760 mi). (This is about 70% of the Moon's radius.) It is believed to consist ...
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0answers
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How much heat is transported from the interior to the surface in the form of hydration enthalpy?

Heat is transferred from the interior to the surface through several methods. One is simply the conduction of sensible heat through the crust - I would guess this accounts for most of it. But some is ...
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Could earth's core lose its heat?

Will all of the drilling and digging to use the earth's natural heat as geothermal energy be affecting Earth's core, causing it to cool down? If so, would it result in an ice age? If not, how does it ...
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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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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 ...
13
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Phase changes deep in planetary interiors and their implications for surface tectonics

Earth's core mantle boundary represents a phase change from a solid (though convecting) mantle to a liquid Iron/Nickel core. This dramatic transition is likely the origin of the D" boundary, as well ...
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Why does Earth's outer-core rotate in the opposite direction to the inner-core?

Is it true that Earth's outercore rotates in the opposite direction to Earth's inner-core? Is there a plausible explanation for why this phenomenon occurs and what is the available evidence ...
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How do mantle plumes travel from the core of Earth to the crust?

As mantle plumes begin in the core and move towards the crust, I would have thought that the heat in the mantle plume would disperse to the surrounding mantle, and the plume would cease to exist by ...
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1answer
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Why do tectonic plates have a tendency to drift closer to the equator?

There are many factors that drive the movement of tectonic plates on the surface of asthenosphere, and some of these factors have a larger contribution than others (e.g. slab suction). One driving ...
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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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Estimating the permeability tensor of an oil field by remote sensing

I work a lot with numerical methods to solve multiphase flow in porous media for oil applications. In our field, we often use Darcy's law which states that the flux is negatively proportional to the ...
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2answers
411 views

Equatorial bulge and tectonic plates

It is well known that the Earth is not a sphere, but rather it bulges at the equator. Also it is well known that the Earth's crust is composed of 7 or 8 (depending on definition) major tectonic plates,...
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1answer
162 views

How do we determine subsurface composition?

Let's assume that a seismogram $s(t)$ is the convolution $s(t)=r(t)g(t)$ between a source signal $r(t)$ and propagation effects $g(t)$. If the source signal $r(t)$ is known, then we can obtain the ...
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Why is a seismogram interpreted as a convolution?

I remember reading in a geology book that a seismogram is a convolution between a source signal and propagation effects. In layman's terms, what does this really mean?
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How to distinguish P, S, Love, and Rayleigh waves in a seismogram?

What features should I look for to determine each of these kinds of waves in a seismogram? What signal processing methods (filters, transforms, etc...) should I use to determine them?
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How are subsurface wave speeds determined without subsurface sensors?

This is something I've never quite understood from a geology class I took years ago: Consider the following picture (courtesy of wikipedia) Obviously, we can't possibly have sensors deep in the ...
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Checking the bedrock with radiowaves - how does it work?

I've heard long ago that the rock material deeply below surface are checked by a device that acts like radar - it sends radiowaves into the ground, and geologists find out from reflections that what ...
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What is the difference between a geologist and a geophysicist?

What are the main differences between geologists and geophysicists?
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What are some of the strongest theories against the existence of mantle plumes?

Among the people I interact with in the geodynamics community, it seems that almost all of us are in full support of the mantle plume theory. What are the strongest arguments against this theory? Is ...
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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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1answer
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Is the Yellowstone National Park unique for its geysers?

The Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is unique for its large number of "thermal occurrences, of which there are some 30 geysers. This, in turn, appears to be the result of the presence of large ...
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Why is there a line of volcanoes along the northwest coast of North America?

Mount Hood in Oregon is a dormant volcano, and in Washington Mount St. Helens and Mt. Ranier are both active volcanoes. What causes this line of volcanoes running parallel to the coastline along the ...
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1answer
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Why Earth's magnetic poles are (and were) in their positions?

This is a sort of a follow-up question to What causes the Earth to have magnetic poles? The Earth has magnetic fields, and according to dynamo theory I roughly understand why. If the Earth's rotation ...
14
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2answers
330 views

How does geothermal heating work?

I have heard that geothermal heating is a way of generating energy from the temperature difference between the inner layers of the Earth and the Earth's crust. How is it possible to extract this ...
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What causes the Earth to have magnetic poles?

A compass can tell me the directions of the Earth's North and South poles? What is it about the Earth that produces this "polarity" such that a compass can pick it up? The first thing that jumped ...
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Why is the inside of the Earth so hot?

I have heard that the Earth is made up of four layers, being the crust, the mantle, the outer core and the inner core. I have also heard that the Earth's temperature increases as you move from the ...
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3answers
505 views

What are some good resources to learn about geophysics? [closed]

What are some good textbooks and online resources for learning about geophysics? That is, physics, as it relates to the earth's geology, shape, and internal structure.
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5answers
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How is the mass of the Earth determined?

According to textbook knowledge, the mass of the Earth is about $6 × 10^{24}\,\mathrm{kg}$. How is this number determined when one cannot just weight the Earth using regular scales?
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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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2answers
785 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 ...
35
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2answers
866 views

Similarities between grand circulation solvers and mantle convection solvers

My impression is that both ocean grand circulation models (e.g. MITgcm), and Mantle Convection models (e.g. CitcomS), both use Navier-Stoke's as the governing equation. What are the other major ...