2 What Creates Earthquakes? The term Earthquake is ambiguous: Applies to general shaking of the ground and to the source of the shaking We will talk about both, but are mainly concerned with the latter Earthquakes occur due to Sudden motion on a fault Formation of a new fault Slip on an existing fault Movement of magma / explosion of a volcano Landslides Meteorite impacts Underground nuclear bomb tests / mine collapses Offset
3 Earthquake Terminology Hypocenter (Focus): actual location of the earthquake at depth Epicenter: location on the surface of the Earth above the hypocenter Hanging Wall: top block of a fault (where a light would hang from) Footwall: bottom block of a fault (where you would stand)
4 Types of Faults In general, faults come in three different types: Normal, Reverse, and Strike-Slip Shallow angle (< 30 ) reverse faults are called thrust faults Faults that have a mix of slip styles are called oblique slip faults See: Fault animations online
5 Why are there different types of faults? Normal Faults: from stretching of or extending rock; points on opposite sides of a fault are father apart after an earthquake Reverse Faults: from contracting or squishing rock; points on opposite sides of the fault are closer together after an earthquake Strike-Slip: can form in either areas of stretching or squishing, material slides laterally past each side of the fault. Described by sense of motion: Right-lateral (Dextral) Left-lateral (Sinistral)
6 Formation of Faults Faults and thus earthquakes form because of stress & strain Plate motion causes rocks to deform or bend Stress and strain become localized Eventually the strength of the rock is overcome BAM!! The rock ruptures and snaps forward releasing the accumulated stress/strain. The process is known as elastic rebound theory Elastic strain: strain that is recoverable New cracks form and link together A through-going fault forms and sliding occurs causing a stress drop
7 Faults & Friction Like a brick sliding across a table, faults, too, are subject to friction Friction, on the micro-scale, is caused by asperities, bumps and irregularities along a surface that resist sliding All other factors equal, faults with more cumulative slip may be smoother and therefore have lower friction (e.g. the San Andreas Fault has very low friction) Once a fault is formed it is a permanent scar that is weaker than the surrounding rock
8 Stick Slip Behavior - Without stick slip behavior, large earthquakes would not happen! - Faults would constantly move (i.e. creep) and not build up significant stress
9 The Earthquake Cycle: A Simple View [ Step 1 ] - Plate motion continues [ Initial Conditions ] - Stress/strain is localized on fault - Plate motion begins - Fence is strained/deformed - Fence is straight - Deformation is recoverable (elastic) [ Step 2 ] - Plate motion continues - Stress/strain exceeds rock strength - The fault slips (ruptures) - Fence is broken into two undeformed pieces
10 Measuring Motion Across a Fault M Great San Francisco Earthquake
11 Locating Earthquakes Often we don t see surface rupture after an EQ Earthquakes occur deep in the Earth. To locate EQ s we can t just look at first arrivals of P-waves Time = 0 is unknown Seismic velocity is non-uniform Can only get a potential epicentral area Instead we rely on the difference in arrival times v s 0.55 v p
12 Locating Earthquakes Because P-waves travel fastest, they will always be recorded first The farther from the source, the more S-wave lag. If we calculate the difference in arrival times of S- and P-waves, we can then calculate the distance to epicenter Called the S-P interval
13 The S-P time only tells distance, not direction A minimum of three stations are needed to calculate epicenter location Called triangulation S-P Intervals
14 One station gives infinite possible epicentral locations Two stations give two possible locations Three stations give one location In practice there is some error The epicenter is located where these circles from multiple stations all intersect Triangulation Station #2 Station #3 Station #1
15 One station gives infinite possible epicentral locations Two stations give two possible locations Three stations give one location In practice there is some error The epicenter is located where these circles from multiple stations all intersect Triangulation
16 How is Earthquake Depth Determined? Seismologists determine hypocenter depth by: Determining the arrival of the pp ray Calculating the p-pp lag time and plugging it into an equation Hypocenter depth also effects S-P intervals, but this is usually accounted for Most regions have earthquakes at a limited range of depth
17 Fault Plane Solutions Along with hypocenter location, seismograms can be used to determine the type of fault that caused the EQ But first we need to review how to quantify the orientation of a plane!
18 Measuring Orientation: Strike and Dip In order to characterize geologic structures, one must be able to quantify the orientation of structures. For Planar features we use: Strike: The orientation of the intersection line between a horizontal surface and the feature of interest. Measured with a compass. E.g. north, N45W, 285, etc Dip: The acute angle between the feature of interest and a horizontal plane. E.g. 0 = horizontal 90 = vertical For linear features we use: Trend: the trend of the line if you were looking down on the feature from above E.g. north, NW, 320, 090, etc Plunge: Acute angle between the line and a horizontal E.g. 46, 75, etc
19 Fault Plane Solutions Consider a peg struck by a hammer Only P-waves to the N-S Greatest amplitude directly ahead and behind i.e. N-S Amplitude decreases away from N-S direction Dilatational first arrival to the S Contractional first arrival to the N Only S-waves to E-W same is true for S-waves almost all first arrivals have the same sense of motion S-waves are of little to no help in determining the fault orientation How do we know if the first arrival is dilatational or contractional?
20 Faults Generate Contraction and Extension The hammer and peg example is too simple Both sides of a fault move Contraction and extension are both generated during slip Geologists call this σ 1 maximum compressive stress direction Seismologists call this P-axis (sometimes C-axis) Pressure axis (compression axis) Extension Contraction Geologists call this σ 3 minimum compressive stress direction Seismologists call this T-axis Tension axis Contraction Extension Fault in a Box
21 Focal Mechanisms Both sides of a fault move, so the radiation pattern is more complex. Seismologists use the pattern of first arrivals to determine several properties of the causative fault strike, dip, and slip vector rake. we call these focal mechanisms, moment tensors, or beach balls Contraction Extension Extension Contraction
22 The Double Couple Mechanism Before an earthquake, rock is sheared The rock cannot rotate, so there must be other stresses involved.
23 The Double Couple Mechanism If two shear stresses are involved the rock can undergo shear strain without rotating called the double couple but this causes ambiguity in the focal mechanism solution
24 The Auxiliary Plane Because of the double couple no rotation is allowed Focal mechanisms predict two potential fault planes collectively called: nodal planes the fault plane the auxillary plane
25 What are the two potential fault orientations? How do we know which is the real fault? Sometimes logic combined with a little Occam s Razor Aftershocks & Historical seismicity How else could we determine the fault plane? Which Plane is the Fault?
27 The Focal Sphere The process just outlined is fine for strike-slip events, but we need a general method for any type of fault. To do this we use the focal sphere just like your favorite part of structural geology Stereonets!!!
28 Strike & Dip: The Stereonet Way Strike = 090 Dip = 90 ⁰ Dip Direction = N/A
29 Strike & Dip: The Stereonet Way Strike = 000 Dip = 90 ⁰ Dip Direction = N/A
30 Strike & Dip: The Stereonet Way Strike = 000 Dip = 80 ⁰ Dip Direction = East +
31 Strike & Dip: The Stereonet Way Strike = 000 Dip = 60 ⁰ Dip Direction = East +
32 Strike & Dip: The Stereonet Way Strike = 000 Dip = 45 ⁰ Dip Direction = East +
33 Strike & Dip: The Stereonet Way Strike = 000 Dip = 30 ⁰ Dip Direction = East +
34 Strike & Dip: The Stereonet Way Strike = 000 Dip = 10 ⁰ Dip Direction = East +
35 Strike & Dip: The Stereonet Way Strike = 045 Dip = 45 ⁰ Dip Direction = SE +
36 Strike & Dip: The Stereonet Way Strike = 135 Dip = 80 ⁰ Dip Direction = SW +
37 Strike & Dip: The Stereonet Way Strike = 280 Dip = 60 ⁰ Dip Direction = NE +
38 Beach Balls For Standard Fault Types For faults with pure dip-slip or pure strike-slip motion the focal mechanisms are relatively straightforward
39 Focal Mechanisms For Oblique Slip Focal mechanisms can also determine the direction of slip Called the slip vector rake, or just rake 180 rake = left-lateral, 180/-180 right-lateral 90 = reverse slip -90 = normal slip 45 =? 120 =?
40 Calculating Focal Mechanisms Although it is impractical to put seismometers deep in the ground, we can still detect waves that are radiated in all directions from a hypocenter We can trace P-waves back to their source using: inverse methods the ray parameter, p We can then calculate the take-off angle relative to vertical this tells seismologists where to plot each station on the focal sphere (stereonet) can get azimuth to source from triangulation
41 Calculating Focal Mechanisms
42 Odd Focal Mechanism? Really think about what the focal sphere represents Why are certain parts are black and others white? This is all black? What could cause this?
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