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Questions tagged [seismology]

For questions about the study of earthquakes and various seismic sources.

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41
votes
6answers
96k 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 ...
33
votes
4answers
13k views

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 ...
30
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
28
votes
8answers
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 ...
22
votes
3answers
8k views

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?
22
votes
1answer
132 views

Placement of crustal thickness estimation from 1D inversion of surface wave dispersion curves

Seismic surface waves present a characteristic dispersion behavior in which different frequencies travel at different speeds. This characteristic dispersion curve depends on the shear and ...
21
votes
3answers
406 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
802 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
43k 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?
19
votes
4answers
2k views

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 ...
18
votes
5answers
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 ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Why Vp/Vs and not Vs/Vp?

The relation between shear wave velocity (Vs) and pressure wave velocity (Vp) is often expressed as Vp/Vs. Wouldn't the opposite be more logic? Vs/Vp would never lead to division with zero and the ...
17
votes
3answers
546 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 ...
17
votes
1answer
395 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
351 views

How strong can a glacial icequake get?

While researching Antarctic geology, I came across the term 'icequake' in the abstract to the article Seismicity within a propagating ice shelf rift: The relationship between icequake locations and ...
17
votes
1answer
328 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
4k 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?...
15
votes
0answers
217 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
334 views

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 ...
14
votes
2answers
540 views

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?
14
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
179 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 ...
14
votes
0answers
143 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
5k views

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? (...
13
votes
1answer
569 views

How is known that the Earth core is solid?

As I know, the Earth core is solid. This is known, because it conducts also transverse waves, while liquids conduct only longitudinal waves. But, how was it found? The inner core is in the outer core,...
13
votes
1answer
695 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
210 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
996 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
12
votes
2answers
981 views

Temporal Resolution of Seismic data

Radius of the Fresnel zone is given by $$Rf=(v/2)(t_0/f_\mathrm{dom})^{1/2}$$ where $v$: velocity of layer $t_0$: two way travel time $f_\mathrm{dom}$ :dominant frequency in the spectrum This shows ...
12
votes
1answer
181 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
423 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?
12
votes
1answer
202 views

Why does seismic activity shed light on the inner core rigidity?

Reading Introduction to Geology (MIT 2005) and Wikipedia's article on Earth's inner core, it is specified that: Earth was discovered to have a solid inner core distinct from its liquid outer ...
12
votes
1answer
197 views

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 ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Is there any correlation between La Niña/El Niño and seismic activity?

I've read in the past that extreme precipitation levels may have an effect on seismic activity, and wondered if anyone has ever analysed the La Niña / El Niño cycles to see if there are any ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Should one extract wavelet from seismic or well log for the generation of synthetic traces?

Synthetics are generated by convolving reflectivity series with the known wavelet. I have seen most of the wavelet are extracted from seismic data itself. Is there any hard and fast rule, or can one ...
12
votes
1answer
347 views

How much silicon is in the Earth's core, and how did it get there?

With some informal conversation with a peer of mine, he had suggested that there is evidence (which he couldn't find,but had remembered reading) that there was Silicon in the Earth's core. I referred ...
12
votes
1answer
227 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): ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

converting SU file to ASCII format in seismic unix using OpenSeaSeis

I have tried to convert a Seismic SU file to ASCII format in seismic unix using openseaseis module named "sutoascii". I have already tested the SU file by opening it in SeaView Seismic Viewer and ...
12
votes
1answer
602 views

What causes “shallow” moonquakes?

It is thought that "deep" moonquakes are caused by tidal forces exerted on the Moon by the Earth and Sun. Some other sorts of moonquakes are thought to be caused by impacts, or by thermal expansion (...
12
votes
1answer
466 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
11
votes
2answers
855 views

Discrete Slant Stack on seismic data

In the formula for slant stacking (tau-p transform) a substitution t=tau+d/v is made. If we consider the substitution as a vector equation then how can vector d/v ...
11
votes
2answers
648 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
334 views

How accurately can explosions be triangulated from the IRIS seismogram data?

There's a bunch of armed conflicts going on right now. What are the lower boundaries on accuracy of triangulating and timing man-made events from the IRIS datasets (accessible, for instance, with the ...
11
votes
1answer
536 views

What generates the microseism?

Looking at seismic noise around the Earth there is commonly a peak in the seismic noise around a frequency of 200 mHz. This peak is typically referred to as the microseism (an example is shown below)....
11
votes
1answer
311 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
167 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
159 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
2k 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?