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Science & Technology

Scientists discover new type of earthquake

By T.K. Randall
October 13, 2016 · Comment icon 12 comments

Earthquakes can occur much deeper than anyone had realized. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 hanonimas
It turns out that earthquakes can occur significantly below the upper half of the Earth's crust.
Conventionally, earthquakes are understood to occur up to a maximum of 24km below the Earth's surface and are caused by continental plates building up tension as they rub against one another.

Now though, by using powerful seismic sensors, scientists in Southern California have been able to measure small earthquakes taking place along the Newport-Inglewood fault line at depths which exceed the 24km record and even reach as far down as the Earth's upper mantle.

While these deep earthquakes don't appear to be particularly large, the researchers believe that they could have the potential to increase the magnitude of other quakes occurring in the future.
"If earthquakes want to get big, one way of achieving that is by penetrating deep," said researcher Jean Paul Ampuero. "The big question is: If the next, larger earthquake happens, if it manages to penetrate deeper than we think, it may be bigger than we expect."

The race is now on to learn as much as possible about this new type of earthquake including where they occur, how frequent they are and what processes are responsible for producing them.

"It's worth further investigation, on multiple fronts, to look at what the physics of the Newport-Inglewood really are," said geophysicist Brad Aagaard.

Source: Science Alert | Comments (12)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by MissJatti 8 years ago
I don't really get, how this is a new type of earthquake. Its just a normal earthquake that happened 15 miles below ground.
Comment icon #4 Posted by paperdyer 8 years ago
So the plates are adjusting themselves before they adjust above.  Maybe we'll be able to predict and get ready for the "Big one" in California
Comment icon #5 Posted by Parsec 8 years ago
If it helps pushing for new research on what lies beneath Earth's crust,  it's a welcome news!  Otherwise, as already posted by others,  it's not something new that didn't exist before yesterday, we just weren't aware of it before yesterday.  So they have always been at work,  wether we knew it or not and presumably earthquakes will keep behaving like they always did.    But sensationalism and inducing panic pays.
Comment icon #6 Posted by psyche101 8 years ago
We did not realise that there might be so much force that drives so deep, so bigger force - more damage. But, as it says, we are not sure if that correlation is valid yet. It might mean nothing after all.  Good to see breakthroughs in this field, hopefully it will lead to earlier detection methods as others have mentioned. 
Comment icon #7 Posted by Zalmoxis 8 years ago
That is intriguing.
Comment icon #8 Posted by rattpoison 8 years ago
No news here.  Scientists have been working in labs to discover a new type of tidal wave for years.  Now that would be news.  Maybe even a new type of fire.
Comment icon #9 Posted by sgroclkc 8 years ago
  At present, it can be verified through repeated experiments that there are only two types of earthquake: gases explosion and meteoritic impact
Comment icon #10 Posted by badeskov 8 years ago
Didn't you post this nonsense before? Oh yes, you did - in your very own thread just a little further down on this very page. The thread you abandoned when some knowledgeable posters with actual experience in the field explained your mistakes, yet here you are again. Mind boggling. Cheers, Badeskov 
Comment icon #11 Posted by MWoo7 8 years ago
Seismologists starting earthquakes kidding but I thought there was an article at some site on that, hate that I can't find it. OH WELL! probably just swag(scientific wild a$s guess) web site or some nutjob site hey it could be a moon god you never know.  I Liked the assimilated simulations in programming  "HEY! that's not right, backwards HA! Lets see a little here some there, add another param, yes a high var here, whew , think the prof will buy it? I don't know but greengore would."
Comment icon #12 Posted by Sameerr 8 years ago
Holy Dino.

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