Digging For Earthquakes
Reported September 2010
MADISON, WI (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Earthquakes happen around the world every day. There’s a lot known about earthquakes, but scientists still have unanswered questions, especially about quake zones lying underwater that could cause devastating tsunamis.
You need Flash Player 8 or higher to view video content with the ROO Flash Player.
Click here to download and install it.
Waves topping 100 feet high that left 230 thousand dead. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was the deadliest on record, triggered by a 9.3 magnitude earthquake. Another 230 thousand dead after a 7.0 quake destroys Haiti in 2010. Less than a month later, an 8.8 quake hits Chile.
There’s no stopping earthquakes from happening, but now geophysicists are digging deep to learn more about what triggers them with a project called the Nankai Trough Seismogenic zone experiment, or nan-tro-seize.
“So the nantroseize project is basically a very large, in fact, the largest scale scientific drilling operation that’s ever been undertaken, and the goal is to drill into an earthquake fault.” Geophysicist Harold Tobin, PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison told Ivanhoe.
Scientists are drilling into a fault zone below the seafloor off the coast of Japan. An area with a history of producing powerful quakes and destructive tsunamis.
“We’re trying to for the very first time drill a hole into that zone, and collect core samples from the earthquake fault itself to know what the fault materials are like” Dr. Tobin explained.
Sensors placed deep beneath the sea floor record earthquakes up close, while the core samples reveal a mixture of water, soil, and rock inside the fault, giving researchers a better understanding of what is happening when an earthquake starts.
“We know that there’s this 1400 year long history of earthquakes there, and tsunamis, and we’re most of the way through the cycle towards a predicted next earthquake in that area.” Dr. Tobin said.
We know the next big one will hit. Scientists want to know when. They have learned so far, that layers of shifted rock show evidence of extended earthquake activity in a region that is likely responsible for generating tsunamis.
The American Geophysical Union and the American Physical Society contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.
Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:
Harold J. Tobin
Geologist, University of Wisconsin-Madison
American Geophysical Union
Washington, DC 20009-1277
James Riordon, Media Relations
American Physical Society
College Park, MD
Patching-Up Wounded Puppies
This Month's TV Reports
Vets are fixing Fido without surgery! Considering that Americans will spend $47 billion on their pets, rehab is becoming a money-saving and life-saving therapy for thousands of dogs.
Cooling Babies—Saving Brains
Four out of every 1000 babies born today will suffer brain damage. Now doctors are using a special blanket to help these babies reduce their chances of developing a lifetime of disabilities.
Waking Up Brains After Stroke
It strikes 800,000 people every year and is the leading cause of long-term disability in the US. Now, researchers are helping wake up damaged brains and help stroke survivors move again.
The Key to Saving Cyclists
Every nine minutes a pedestrian or cyclist is injured or killed on the road. Now a new device will help warn drivers and keep cyclists safe.
Submerged In Oil
The spill is stopped, but how much oil is left behind? We go under the sea in a sub to get a close-up look at what’s there
New Spin on Tornadoes
Hurricanes hitting the coast put lives at risk inland. New technology can warn people when tornadoes will strike hundreds of miles away from the storm.
Digging for Earthquakes
We dig deep into one of the most active earthquake zones in the world to find out when the next ‘big one’ will strike.
New Roofs Put Money in Your Pocket
New roofing technology will keep you covered and put more money in your pocket!
Smaller, Lighter, Faster Gadgets
From computers to cell phones … researchers are working on ways to make them better and more energy efficient.
3d Video Games Go Inside The Body
A new high-tech video game goes inside the human body, teaching kids science and having fun at the same time.
Animated Tutors-Making the Grade
The teacher is ‘in’ and ‘on’ the computer. Kids can now improve their language and social skills with an animated tutor.
In these tricks – the math is quicker than the eye. We introduce you to a mathematician who has a few tricks up his sleeve.