A Step Closer to Understanding Earthquakes

Jun 23, 2016

Credit Wikipedia Commons
Uplift (red) and subsidence (blue) based on GPS data (top) confirm predicted motion (bottom).
Credit School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology

Researchers with the UH Mānoa’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology are exploring a new way of viewing and interpreting California’s largest earthquake fault.  Scientists use Global Positioning System stations placed up and down the San Andreas Fault to track the movement of tectonic plates.

Now researchers are adding a three dimensional aspect by measuring the up and down moment of GPS transmitters.  They’ve discovered 125 mile wide “lobes” of uplift and subsidence that move a few millimeters each year.  Sam Howell is from the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology.  He says knowing the vertical effect improves the knowledge of how fault mechanics work, but it’s still not enough to completely predict earthquakes. 

The complete study was published in NATURE

Listen to the full interview with Sam Howell.