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New Quake Mechanism ID'd in CA: "Slow" Earthquakes Change San Andreas Risks | High Sierra Backpacker

New Quake Mechanism ID'd in CA: "Slow" Earthquakes Change San Andreas Risks


Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 18 June 2018

 

GEOLOGY NEWS

 

New Earthquake Mechanism ID'd in CA

'Slow earthquakes' on San Andreas Fault increase risk of large quakes, say ASU scientists,
Arizona State University, June 18, 2018.

 

 

ASSUMPTION

"Geologists have long thought that the central section of California's famed San Andreas Fault — from San Juan Bautista southward to Parkfield, a distance of about 90 miles — has a steady creeping movement that provides a safe release of energy."

REALITY

"Instead, the activity has been a sequence of small stick-and-slip movements — sometimes called "slow earthquakes" — that release energy over a period of months. Although these slow earthquakes pass unnoticed by people, the researchers say they can trigger large destructive quakes in their surroundings. One such quake was the magnitude 6 event that shook Parkfield in 2004."

The Mechanism

"We found that movement on the fault began every one to two years and lasted for several months before stopping."

The Result

"These episodic slow earthquakes lead to increased stress on the locked segments of the fault to the north and south of the central section," Shirzaei said. He points out that these flanking sections experienced two magnitude 7.9 earthquakes, in 1857 (Fort Tejon) and 1906 (San Francisco).

Pace

"We found that this part of the fault has an average movement of about three centimeters a year, a little more than an inch."

Contribution

This research "...uncovers a new type of fault motion and earthquake-triggering mechanism, which is not accounted for in current models of earthquake hazards used for California."

THE BOTTOM LINE

"Based on our observations, we believe that seismic hazard in California is something that varies over time and is probably higher than what people have thought up to now."

75% CHANCE CA ROCKS WITHIN 30

"Based on current time-independent models, there's a 75 percent chance for an earthquake of magnitude 7 or larger in both northern and southern California within next 30 years."

 

 

June 30, 2017

Serious California Quake Threats
Salton Sea to Monterey and Beyond

Earthquake threat keeps rising as scientists learn more about seismic faults,
San Diego Union-Tribune, June 29.

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