Masterclass: Earthquakes - How predictable are they?
|Earthquakes - How predictable are they? : A masterclass with Margaret Boettcher, Associate Professor of Geophysics, University of New Hampshire.
While earthquake predictability is poorly understood, some faults have more regular seismicity than others. Earthquakes on oceanic transform faults exhibit many of the most systematic and predictable behaviors known in seismology and therefore provide a window into earthquake forecasting on potentially damaging faults. On short time scales (hours to days) earthquakes on these faults display extremely high levels of foreshock activity. On intermediate time scales (years) oceanic transform faults show the clearest evidence of quasi-periodic seismic cycle behavior in the instrumental record. And on long temporal and spatial scales (decades & 100s of km) the size and frequency distributions of oceanic transform fault earthquakes can be predicted from scaling relations dependent only on transform fault lengths and slip rates.
In 2008 the periodicity of oceanic transform fault earthquakes was put to the test when an array of ocean bottom seismometers were positioned on Gofar Transform Fault, located just south of the equator on the East Pacific Rise. The next expected earthquake on this fault occurred right on time and the seismometers recorded an incredible dataset including the magnitude 6.0 earthquake, thousands of foreshocks, and the aftershock sequence.
In this Masterclass participants will discuss maximum expected magnitudes, fault zone complexity, time-dependent earthquake forecasts, and examples of successful and unsuccessful recent earthquake forecasts and more. Join us to learn about some of Earth’s most predictable earthquakes- those on oceanic transform faults!
Margaret Boettcher is an Associate Professor of Geophysics at the University of New Hampshire. Her research aims to constrain the physical properties of fault zones using records of earthquake ground motion, laboratory friction experiments, and numerical models. She is particularly interested in contributing to the worldwide effort to address seismic hazard issues of societal importance. Her contributions have largely focused on understanding earthquakes in two very different, yet relatively simple, environments: mid-ocean ridge transform faults and deep gold mines.
Margaret Boettcher is a UWA Robert and Maude Gledden Senior Visiting Fellow.
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