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What scientists hope to learn from New Jersey earthquake – NBC New York

What scientists hope to learn from New Jersey earthquake – NBC New York

 


More than a week after a New Jersey earthquake shook the Tri-State and beyond, scientists are still taking steps to learn more about what happened.

Researchers from as far away as the University of Texas were working at the Hunterdon County Arboretum on Monday to install a seismometer, an instrument that can measure aftershocks near the epicenter and give scientists a better sense of the fault that shifted on April 5 — then handed New Jersey its largest quake in more than From 100 years.

More than 100 seismometers will be placed three feet into the ground to help monitor ground movements.

“With enough seismometers, we'll be able to identify it with some aftershocks still occurring, which will help us pinpoint its location,” said Ken Miller, a professor at Rutgers University.

Some people living near the epicenter at Whitehouse Station still feel uneasy.

“We had a thunderstorm yesterday, and a lot of people were suffering from PTSD because you don't know if it's thunder or an aftershock,” said Jasmine Blount, of Access Medical Urgent Care.

Geologists who study earthquakes say more than 50 aftershocks since April 5 have actually been on the downside. Although the 4.8-magnitude quake is considered relatively mild compared to others around the world, its unusual location in New Jersey has scientists wanting to learn more.

“When they happen above [magnitude] “When they are in close proximity to a large population center, we are certainly interested in studying the earthquake,” said Oliver Boyd, a research geophysicist at the USGS.

The fault in which the earthquake occurred has not been definitively identified, but it is believed to extend from north to south. Scientists are still unsure whether it was an existing fault that caused the quake, or an entirely new fault.

“A lot of the faults we mapped on the surface are old and have largely healed and have not been active in the last two million years,” Boyd said.

Underground seismometers may provide further clues, and perhaps even predictions, for the future.

“The more you publish, the better depiction you get of what's happening beneath our feet,” Professor Miller said.

The strength of the aftershocks since April 12 has not reached more than 1.5 magnitude, leading scientists to believe that the tremors have begun to diminish.

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