37 votes

Are Richter-magnitude 10 earthquakes possible?

Adding a little bit of practical data to the above answer about the Gutenberg-Richter relationship, here is a plot of the per-year cumulative probability of earthquakes in a particular province in ...
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35 votes

Are Richter-magnitude 10 earthquakes possible?

Are magnitude 10 earthquakes possible? The idea of a “Mega-Quake” – an earthquake of magnitude 10 or larger – while theoretically possible—is very highly unlikely. Earthquake magnitude is based ...
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34 votes
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Are Richter-magnitude 10 earthquakes possible?

Magnitude 10 earthquakes are indeed possible, but very very unlikely. You see the frequency of an Earthquake is given by the Gutenberg-Richter law: $$N = 10^{a-bM}$$ where $N$ is the number of ...
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28 votes
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Why aren't seismic stations installed very deep underground so as to pre-warn from earthquakes?

The simple answer is that you can't drill to 50 km depth. The deepest holes ever drilled were to a little more than 12 km, one is named the Kola Superdeep Borehole in Russia, which was a scientific ...
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26 votes
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Can mining trigger earthquakes?

Yep, mining can trigger earthquakes. According to a Scientific American article: We've been monitoring [The Geysers] since 1975. All the earthquakes we see there are [human] induced. When they ...
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26 votes
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Is it true that earthquakes are not felt in a cave?

Ground motion results due to passage of elastic waves. Now there are different kinds of waves, e.g., P waves, S waves, surface waves, etc. Most of the shaking (and therefore damage) is caused by ...
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26 votes

Why aren't seismic stations installed very deep underground so as to pre-warn from earthquakes?

10 seconds is a worthwhile warning time. The Japanese use it to switch off compressors on gas lines (or open release valves on them), emergency break bullet trains, and in particular shut down nuclear ...
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26 votes
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If a very huge Earthquake occured anywhere on Earth could waves emerge to come together again on the opposite side?

It is called "antipodal focusing". See for example Antipodal focusing of seismic waves observed with the USArray. We present an analysis of the M-w = 5.3 earthquake that occurred in the Southeast ...
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21 votes

Are Richter-magnitude 10 earthquakes possible?

Perhaps this is not what you had in mind, but it seems to be generally agreed that the Chicxulub asteroid impact generated earthquakes in excess of magnitude 10.
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21 votes

Is there any correlation between Grand Solar Minimums (GSM) and earthquakes?

The main proxy that we have of past solar intensity comes from its proven correlation to the number of sunspots, which have been recorded since the invention of the telescope in the early 1600's. And ...
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21 votes

If the Bennu asteroid were to hit within a 500 mile radius of Yellowstone National Park, will it trigger a super volcano at Yellowstone?

There is actually an hypothesis that large asteroid impacts can trigger volcanism at the antipodal point, where the seismic energy of the impact focuses. On Earth, it has been suggested that the ...
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20 votes
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Is fracking likely to produce earthquakes?

It's not too too likely, but it can happen. A few earthquakes have either been attributed to fracking, or the wastewater produced from fracking. According to the USGS (for more information, visit ...
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20 votes

Is earthquake prediction possible?

Earthquake prediction really is a contentious issue, especially after the l'Aqula trials. However, let me try to elaborate how predictions might be possible in the future and what is inhibiting this ...
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17 votes
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Is earthquake prediction possible?

You ask what we should change to better predict earthquakes, and I'd think almost everything. As geophysicists we might know the what of earthquake detonation, but are relatively blind at the how. ...
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17 votes

Can mining trigger earthquakes?

The Short Answer is Yes. The consensus is that humans can prematurely trigger earthquakes, and this paper in 1986's EPSL annual reviews seems to be in full support. There is also this paper which ...
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17 votes
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Potential explanations of Red Sea crossing

To my knowledge, the best study looking at potential explanations for the Red Sea crossing is the one by Nof and Paldor (1992). They present a couple of plausible scenarios for the crossing. The main ...
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17 votes

Is it true that earthquakes are not felt in a cave?

There are three main types of waves produced during an earthquake: P, S, and L waves, which stands for Primary, Secondary, and Love. (There was a mnemonic I read many years ago that went P=pressure, S=...
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17 votes
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If the Bennu asteroid were to hit within a 500 mile radius of Yellowstone National Park, will it trigger a super volcano at Yellowstone?

Maybe but it will depend on the state of the magma chamber under the caldera. If the magma chamber is already under enough pressure and has a super-eruptive quantity of liquid melt in it then the ...
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15 votes
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How do seismologists locate the epicenter and focus of an earthquake?

Earthquake epicenters are located using triangulation, this is possible once seismograms of the earthquake - coming from at least three locations - have been analyzed properly. Here is a good ...
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15 votes

Is it true that earthquakes are not felt in a cave?

Googling leads to a very old document: EFFECTS OF AN EARTHQUAKE IN A MINE AT TOMBSTONE, ARIZONA stating that in many cases, mine workers did not notice earthquakes which were felt above ground. A ...
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Is it possible for Earth to experience Polar Shift?

Is it possible for Earth to experience Polar Shift? Yes, and it has happened before. In the past 80 million years it happened over 150 times. The last time this happened was around 800 thousand ...
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14 votes
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How does one measure what causes earthquakes?

There are a number of causes (this list is probably not complete): Elastic Rebound of tectonic faults. This is the most common and well known. Here the energy is elastic energy stored as two blocks ...
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14 votes

Why are there more intense earthquakes in Iran than in Iraq?

These two images probably explain it best: This is a map from the US Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program, which shows all recorded large earthquakes in the region from 1900 to March 2012. ...
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14 votes
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Why do human populations concentrate near fault lines, volcanoes, etc.?

You're asking Why do human populations concentrate near fault lines, volcanoes, etc.? But the real question is Do human populations concentrate near fault lines, volcanoes, etc.? And the ...
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14 votes
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What are the distinguishing features of an "artificial seismic wave" (e.g. a large underground explosion)

Several things can indicate that a seismic event is an explosion and not an earthquake. Firstly, the depth of the source. The shallowest earthquakes tend to have a hypocentre that is at least a ...
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13 votes

Is earthquake prediction possible?

Besides the theoretical limitations that @Neo talks about, there is also a great data gap in our knowledge. To predict an earthquake, we would need to know: The 3D geometry of all major, and possibly ...
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13 votes
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Can large (and wet) storms really trigger large magnitude Earthquakes?

The 2011 AGU poster has been cited once, by Burtin et al. (2013)1, who say in their abstract ... event activity was positively correlated with the precipitation intensity... -- but more importantly, ...
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13 votes

Is it possible that the recent droughts are signs of epic crust failure?

Is it possible that the recent droughts are signs of epic crust failure? No. Even though your 5 points do not make much sense, I'll try to answer it anyway. There are no continental plates. There ...
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13 votes

Why do some earthquakes and volcanoes occur within plates?

Crustal plates are not homogeneous, uniformly continuous rock masses with uniform stresses. They are a mixture of rock types with variable stresses and stress concentrations. They are also ...
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12 votes
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Why does the "Ring of Fire" pretty much define "Pacific Rim"

There isn't a concentration of tectonic plates - rather the opposite! The "Ring of Fire" is a pattern really. It is marked by subduction zones. So the question becomes, "Why is the Pacific Ocean ...
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