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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11
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1answer
412 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
326 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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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
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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
627 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 ...
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1answer
322 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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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
628 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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2answers
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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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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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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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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
348 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
309 views

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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1answer
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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
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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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3answers
552 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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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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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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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 ...
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1answer
208 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
230 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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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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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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2answers
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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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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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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 the Earth's core lose its heat?

Will all the drilling and digging to use the Earth's natural heat as geothermal energy affect the Earth's core, causing it to cool down? If so, would it result in an ice age? If not, how does the ...
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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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3answers
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How did Earth's plate tectonics start?

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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1answer
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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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1answer
256 views

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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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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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
309 views

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
464 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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