Lithosphere: An Active Earthquake

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by CWarlick
Last updated 5 years ago


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Lithosphere: An Active Earthquake

"This fault is expected to trigger a large event in the coming decades."

Drilling Into an Active Earthquake Fault in New Zealand

Researchers only hope to recover a rock sample with the volume of a baseball, which is plenty large enough to complete thier studies.

This is only the second time geologists have drilled deep into an active earthquake fault. The first time this occured was when scientists drilled a nearly 2-mile deep hole in the San Andreas Fault of California several years ago.

As stated in the video, researchers plan to install permanent pressure, temperature and seismic-monitoring sensors to further increase our future knowledge.

An aerial view of the Alpine Fault in New Zealand, where the project is set to take place

Earthquakes only occur on this fault every 200-400 years, with an average time between large earthquakes being around 330 years. Since the last quake occured in 1717 , this $2.5 million project presents a perfect opportunity to collect samples before it breaks.

The task is to examine the possible role of clay minerals and friction melting in this particular fault zone. The clay minerals can help reduce friction and the generation of heat, releasing pressure in nondestructive "creeping" motions.

Van der Pluijm also took part in the California Project.

The goal is to drill 0.8 miles into the 530-mile-long fault, which is responsible for lifting the Southern Alps and marks the boundary between the Austrailain and Pacific tectonic plates.


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