A distinguished professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, College of Engineering, unveiled the mysteries of the deep earthquake.
In her paper titled “Collapse Magnitude Instability in Deep Earthquakes: The Source of Seminar Shear and Pressure Driven” that appeared in the Journal of Solids Mechanics and Physics, mechanical engineer Xanthebe Markensov showed that the mysterious earthquake arose between 400 and 700 km below the Earth’s surface and was recorded in magnitudes Reaches 8.3 on the Richter scale.
(Image: Wikimedia Commons) Cracks run through a parking lot following the earthquake that struck the area on August 8th. Photo: John Jay, USN
Solve the mystery of the severe earthquake
The term highly concentrated earthquake itself indicates that it originates in depth with the mantle where there are high pressures. It was first identified in 1929 but researchers have been unable to determine the relationship between high pressures and shear (distorted) seismic waves produced by deep focus earthquakes.
Markensoff has continued to explain this mystery under very high pressures using a series of papers since 2019. Her solution provides insight into many other phenomena that have similar geophysical processes, such as planet formation, Phys.org reports.
The finding shows how deep mathematical modeling rooted in mechanics and physics can help solve the mysteries of nature, Huajian Zhao, a professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and editor of the journal in which Markensoff’s paper appears.
Read also: A rare “Boomerang earthquake” was recorded for the first time
What causes highly focused earthquakes?
High pressures occurring 400-700 kilometers below the Earth’s surface can cause olivine to turn into a denser type of rock called spinel, a process similar to how coal turns into diamond also occurs in the mantle.
EurekAlert! I reported that the shift from rocks to denser spinel leads to a decrease in the volume of rocks as the atoms close together due to higher pressures. This is called a scale collapse associated with a metamorphic defect, which is considered to be the main cause of deep focus earthquakes.
To date, however, no volume collapse model has predicted seismic shear waves. Markensoff used basic mathematical physics and mechanics to find the instabilities that occur at very high pressures. This instability was the shape of the expansion zone of the metamorphic rocks and the instability of their growth.
Markensoff concluded that the spread of the deep-focused earthquake is due to pressure acting on the change in magnitude. When asked how she feels about discovering it, she said that she feels like living with nature by discovering the beauty of how it works.
A discovery applicable to solving other mysteries of nature
A massive earthquake is just an earthquake that shows the same instability. Markensoff’s solution also gives insight into how other geological phenomena occur under high pressures, such as planetary impacts and formation.
Experimental facilities studying such phenomena are now able to study materials under high pressures that were previously impossible to test.
Markensoff’s work provides an important presentation and reminder that harnessing the fundamentals of mathematical physics combined with research conducted in extreme environments can help solve nature’s mysteries.
Related article: Major earthquakes found following the mathematical pattern called the “Devil’s Ladder”
Check out more news and information about Earthquakes on Science Times.
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