Earth Science News  





.
SHAKE AND BLOW
Fault-Finding Coral Reefs Can Predict the Site of Coming Earthquakes

A 3D illustration of the Gulf of Aqaba sea floor and surrounding mountains.
by Staff Writers
New York NW (SPX) Mar 23, 2011
In the wake of the devastating loss of life in Japan, the urgent question is where the next big earthquake will hit. To answer it, geologist Prof. Zvi Ben-Avraham and his doctoral student Gal Hartman of Tel Aviv University's Department of Physics and Planetary Sciences in the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences are examining coral reefs and submarine canyons to detect earthquake fault zones.

Working with an international team of Israelis, Americans and Jordanians, Prof. Ben-Avraham and his team are developing a new method to determine what areas in a fault zone region are most at risk. Using a marine vessel, he and his colleagues are surveying a unique geological phenomenon of the Red Sea, near the coastal cities of Eilat and Aqaba - but their research could be applied anywhere, including Japan and the west coast of the U.S.

Recently published in the journal Geo-Marine Letters, the research details a "mass wasting" of large detached blocks and collapsed walls of submarine canyons along the gulf region of the Red Sea. They believe the geological changes were triggered by earthquake activity.

What's next for San Andreas?
The team has created the first underwater map of the Red Sea floor at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba, and more importantly, identified deformations on the sea floor indicating fault-line activity. They not only pinpointed the known fault lines along the Syrian-African rift, but located new ones that city engineers in Israel and Jordan should be alert to.

"Studying fossil coral reefs and how they've split apart over time, we've developed a new way to survey active faults offshore by looking at the movement of sediment and fossil structures across them," says Hartman. "What we can't say is exactly when the next major earthquake will hit. But we can tell city engineers where the most likely epicenter will be." According to Hartman, the tourist area in the city of Eilat is particularly vulnerable.

While geologists have been tracking underwater faults for decades, the new research uniquely tracks lateral movements across a fault line (a "transform fault") and how they impact the sediment around them. This is a significant predictive tool for studying the San Andreas Fault in California as well, says Hartman.

The research is supported by a USAID grant through the Middle East Regional Cooperation (MERC) program.

Marching orders for city engineers
Aboard a marine vessel that traversed the waters of Israel and Jordan and peering at depths as deep as 700 meters, the researchers analyzed the structure of the seabed and discovered active submarine canyons, mass wasting, landslides, and sediment slumps related to tectonic processes and earthquake activity.

"There are several indicators of seismic activity. The most significant is the location of the fault. Looking at and beneath the seafloor, we saw that the faults deform the upper sediments. The faults of the Red Sea are active. We managed to find some other faults too and now know just how many active faults are in the region. This should help make authorities aware of where the next big earthquake will strike," says Hartman.

What made their study particularly unique is that they used the offset along linear structures, of fossil coral fringing-reefs to measure what they call "lateral slip across active faults." With this knowledge, researchers were able to calculate total slip and slip-rates and how active the fault has become.

"We can now identify high-risk locations with more certainty, and this is a boon to city planners. It's just a matter of time before we'll need to test how well cities will withstand the force of the next earthquake. It's a matter of proper planning," concludes Hartman.




Share This Article With Planet Earth
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook



Related Links
Tel Aviv University
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest



Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
SHAKE AND BLOW
New Findings On The Developments Of The Earthquake Disaster
Potsdam, Germany (SPX) Mar 18, 2011
The earthquake disaster on 11 March 2011 was an event of the century not only for Japan. With a magnitude of Mw = 8.9, it was one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded worldwide. Particularly interesting is that here, two days before, a strong foreshock with a magnitude Mw = 7.2 took place almost exactly at the breaking point of the tsunami-earthquake. The geophysicist Joachim Saul fr ... read more

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  


SHAKE AND BLOW
Two workers at Japan plant taken to hospital

Tsunami batters Japan's tourism industry

State of Japan's stricken nuclear reactors

Japan resumes dousing smouldering nuclear plant

SHAKE AND BLOW
New Imaging Technique Provides Rapid, High-Definition Chemistry

Researchers Devise Model For Stronger Self-Healing Materials By Adding More Give

Cheap Catalyst Made Easy

Google keeps tight grip on tablet software

SHAKE AND BLOW
Fish Know To Avoid The Spear

The Pacific Oyster Is In Sweden To Stay

Ancient Trash Heaps Gave Rise To Everglades Tree Islands

Developing Strategies In A Desert Watershed That Sustain Regional Water Supplies

SHAKE AND BLOW
Study: 2011 arctic ice extent is down

Wheels Up for Extensive Survey of Arctic Ice

Arctic-Wide Measurements Verify Rapid Ozone Depletion In Recent Days

Pace of polar ice melt 'accelerating rapidly': study

SHAKE AND BLOW
Global food scare widens from Japan nuclear plant

Carbon Tax Must Not Comprise Food And Fibre Production

Tree Resin The Key Evidence Of Current And Historic Insect Invasions

Two Rivers Water Company Signs Agreement On 1000 Acres Of Farmland

SHAKE AND BLOW
Fault-Finding Coral Reefs Can Predict the Site of Coming Earthquakes

Japan death toll tops 10,000: Kyodo

Over 25 killed in Myanmar quake: officials

Over 25 killed in Myanmar quake: officials

SHAKE AND BLOW
Burkina Faso soldiers freed from prison after protests

Passions stirred, Gbagbo backers "ready to die" for I.Coast

African Union demands 'immediate' halt to Libya attacks

War clouds gather over Sudan again

SHAKE AND BLOW
Rare gene defect affects both pain, smell

A New Evolutionary History Of Primates

Study: More immigrant families are intact

Study: Neanderthals had control of fire


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement