Saturday, June 23, 2018

California’s Big One to happen BEFORE we think and will be triggered by ’SLOW EARTHQUAKE'

CALIFORNIA’S San Andreas Fault is being opened-up by a series of “slow earthquakes”, geologists revealed, a discovery which brings the feared ‘Big One’ much closer than previously forecasted.

Geologists from the Arizona State University (ASU) discovered California's infamous San Andreas Fault is affected by a sequence of small movements called slow earthquakes, each releasing energy along the fault over a period of months.
These movements are too weak to be felt by people but have a devastating impact on the area.
Experts believe these “accelerations and decelerations” experienced by the fault can trigger destructive tremors such as the magnitude 6 earthquake that hit Parkfield in 2004.
This discovery overturned the long-standing belief the fault was slowly and safely releasing energy which reduced the chances of a big earthquake.Mostafa Khoshmanesh, lead author of the research and researcher at ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE), said: “What looked like steady, continuous creep was actually made of episodes of acceleration and deceleration along the fault.”
In fact, this constant movement increases the pressure along the San Andreas Fault, and the chances of the ‘Big One’ taking place, a hypothetical earthquake of magnitude 8 or greater expected to tear apart the fault.
Manoochehr Shirzaei, assistant professor in SESE and co-author of the paper, explained: “We found that movement on the fault began every one to two years and lasted for several months before stopping.
“These episodic slow earthquakes lead to increased stress on the locked segments of the fault to the north and south of the central section.”
Mr Shirzaei pointed out that these very parts of the fault experienced two 7.9 magnitude tremors, the worst-ever recorded earthquakes in the area, in 1857 (Fort Tejon) and 1906 (San Francisco). 
california big one earthquake news latest study forecast slow earthquake usa ring of fireGOOGLE MAPS/GETTY
The San Andreas Fault is affected by a sequence of small movements, geologists discovered
california big one earthquake news latest study forecast slow earthquake usa ring of fireUSGS
The 'Big One' could be much closer than previously forecasted
The geologists linked the phenomenon of slow earthquakes with bigger tremors using the data gathered by a synthetic aperture radar from orbit between 2003 and 2010.
This radar creates two or three-dimensional images of objects, including volcanoes and faults, providing a finer resolution than normal radars.
Studying the month-by-month changes in the ground along the central part of the fault, the experts could determine the damage made by slow earthquakes.
Mr Khoshmanesh said: ”We found that this part of the fault has an average movement of about three centimetres a year, a little more than an inch. 
california big one earthquake news latest study forecast slow earthquake usa ring of fireGETTY
Experts believe the slow earthquakes will trigger a bigger quake
"But at times the movement stops entirely, and at other times it has moved as much as 10 centimeters a year, or about four inches."
This new study uncovers a new type of fault motion and earthquake triggering mechanism never before included in current models of earthquake hazards.
As a consequence, it nullifies previous forecast arguing the Big One may happen in decades.
Mr Khoshmanesh said: "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."
But Mr Shirzaei added: "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."
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