Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Global map predicts locations for giant earthquakes

Date:
December 12, 2013
Source:
Monash University
Summary:
Researchers have developed a new global map of subduction zones, illustrating which ones are predicted to be capable of generating giant earthquakes and which ones are not.

Andaman Sea. "For the Australian region subduction zones of particular significance are the Sunda subduction zone, running from the Andaman Islands along Sumatra and Java to Sumba, and the Hikurangi subduction segment offshore the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. Our research predicts that these zones are capable of producing giant earthquakes," Dr Schellart said.
Credit: vichie81 / Fotolia

A team of international researchers, led by Monash University's Associate Professor Wouter Schellart, have developed a new global map of subduction zones, illustrating which ones are predicted to be capable of generating giant earthquakes and which ones are not.

Related Articles


The new research, published in the journal Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, comes nine years after the giant earthquake and tsunami in Sumatra in December 2004, which devastated the region and many other areas surrounding the Indian Ocean, and killed more than 200,000 people.

Since then two other giant earthquakes have occurred at subduction zones, one in Chile in February 2010 and one in Japan in March 2011, which both caused massive destruction, killed many thousands of people and resulted in billions of dollars of damage.

Most earthquakes occur at the boundaries between tectonic plates that cover the Earth's surface. The largest earthquakes on Earth only occur at subduction zones, plate boundaries where one plate sinks (subducts) below the other into the Earth's interior. So far, seismologists have recorded giant earthquakes for only a limited number of subduction zone segments. But accurate seismological records go back to only ~1900, and the recurrence time of giant earthquakes can be many hundreds of years.

"The main question is, are all subduction segments capable of generating giant earthquakes, or only some of them? And if only a limited number of them, then how can we identify these," Dr Schellart said.

Dr Schellart, of the School of Geosciences, and Professor Nick Rawlinson from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland used earthquake data going back to 1900 and data from subduction zones to map the main characteristics of all active subduction zones on Earth. They investigated if those subduction segments that have experienced a giant earthquake share commonalities in their physical, geometrical and geological properties.

They found that the main indicators include the style of deformation in the plate overlying the subduction zone, the level of stress at the subduction zone, the dip angle of the subduction zone, as well as the curvature of the subduction zone plate boundary and the rate at which it moves.

Through these findings Dr Schellart has identified several subduction zone regions capable of generating giant earthquakes, including the Lesser Antilles, Mexico-Central America, Greece, the Makran, Sunda, North Sulawesi and Hikurangi.

"For the Australian region subduction zones of particular significance are the Sunda subduction zone, running from the Andaman Islands along Sumatra and Java to Sumba, and the Hikurangi subduction segment offshore the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. Our research predicts that these zones are capable of producing giant earthquakes," Dr Schellart said.

"Our work also predicts that several other subduction segments that surround eastern Australia (New Britain, San Cristobal, New Hebrides, Tonga, Puysegur), are not capable of producing giant earthquakes."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Monash University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. W.P. Schellart, N. Rawlinson. Global correlations between maximum magnitudes of subduction zone interface thrust earthquakes and physical parameters of subduction zones. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 2013; 225: 41 DOI: 10.1016/j.pepi.2013.10.001

Cite This Page:

Monash University. "Global map predicts locations for giant earthquakes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131212100142.htm>.
Monash University. (2013, December 12). Global map predicts locations for giant earthquakes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131212100142.htm
Monash University. "Global map predicts locations for giant earthquakes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131212100142.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Looted and Leaking, South Sudan's Oil Wells Pose Health Risk

Looted and Leaking, South Sudan's Oil Wells Pose Health Risk

AFP (Mar. 3, 2015) Thick black puddles and a looted, leaking ruin are all that remain of the Thar Jath oil treatment facility, once a crucial part of South Sudan&apos;s mainstay industry. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rare Rescued Butterflies Get New Home at San Diego Zoo

Rare Rescued Butterflies Get New Home at San Diego Zoo

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 3, 2015) Workers at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park help to save rare butterfly pupae. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Volcano Villarrica Erupts in Southern Chile, Villages Evacuated

Volcano Villarrica Erupts in Southern Chile, Villages Evacuated

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 3, 2015) Chile&apos;s Villarrica volcano gives a spectacular display of lava as it erupts in the early morning hours, prompting several thousand to evacuate. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Fire Burns Iconic SAfrica Mountain

Raw: Fire Burns Iconic SAfrica Mountain

AP (Mar. 3, 2015) Cape Town&apos;s iconic Table Mountain was engulfed by an orange blaze on Monday and Tuesday, blowing thick smoke to the city below, as a wildfire burned across the city&apos;s southern peninsula. (March 3) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins