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We could finally know why so many earthquakes happen in the "wrong places"



According to new research, adding to the list of geological triggers that can cause an earthquake, river erosion: this could help explain why so many earthquakes occur far from the edges of the tectonic plates.

These boulders and the friction and pressure that build up when they meet are what we would normally call seismic activity. This latest study, through computer models aligned with actual data, shows that even rocks removed by the flow of rivers could impact.

Rivers permeate the rock over millions of years, this could be the case The crust could be moved more easily, say the researchers – and it could help us predict these intraplated earthquakes more accurately in the future.

"In introductory geology, it is taught that the vast majority of earthquakes occur at plate tectonic boundaries, such as in Japan and along the San Andreas fault zone," says team member Ryan Thigpen of the University of Kentucky [1

9659003] "Although this is the case, it does not explain the earthquakes that are common in areas such as the East Tennessee and New Madrid seismic zones. "

Thigpen and Sean Gallen of Colorado State University developed a computer model that simulated the distance of 150 meters (nearly 500 feet) of rock over the river erosion – such as the Amoun A quarry that had flown from the Tennessee River for the last 9 million years

This has lost a lot of weight, and the results they achieved were in line with the seismic activity observed in the region over the last century, suggesting that they may be up

Intraplate earthquakes have their own special foci Scientists believe that there is something special in these areas, far from the plate boundaries – a certain weakness in the crust that adds to the stress at these vulnerabilities. [19659003] The erosion of the river could be the missing ingredient seismologists have not yet considered, at least to egg a few places. Existing faults and stresses in the crust are pushed beyond the breakpoint and eventually cause an earthquake.

In the case of East Tennessee, erosion – totaling about 8 trillion tons of rock – is contributing to the patchwork of geological fault scars

The last major earthquake in Virginia, reaching 5.8 magnitude, occurred in 2011

Each region will, of course, have its own characteristics, but experts have already suggested this. The same combination could lead to an earthquake activity in Missouri.

If long-term erosion by rivers can be added to the earthquake models we have, we may be talking about saving lives and property. Whether future earthquakes can be predicted with greater accuracy.

"Geologists used to speculate about some of the mechanisms behind seismicity, but they are new and sometimes radical. All ideas now allow us to look at it from a completely new perspective," says Thigpen.

The research was published in Geophysical Research Letters .


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