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6/5/2013

L2-1 EARTHQUAKES
CIVE 430
ENGINEERING GEOLOGY

SUMMER 2013

What causes an earthquake?

An earthquake is the vibration of the


Earth produced by the rapid release of
accumulated energy in elastically
strained rocks
Energy released radiates in all directions
from its source, the Focus

Energy propagates in the form of seismic


waves

Sensitive instruments around the world


record the event

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What causes an earthquake?

Movement of Tectonic Plates


Earth is divided into sections called

Tectonic plates that float on the viscousfluid-like interior of the Earth. Earthquakes
are usually caused by sudden movement
of earth plates

Rupture of rocks along a fault


Faults are localized areas of weakness in
the surface of the Earth, sometimes the
plate boundary itself

Where Do EQs Occur?


PLATE BOUNDARIES
FAULTS

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Release of Accumulated Energy

Definitions related to EQ Location


The Focus and Epicenter of an Earthquake

The point within


Earth where faulting
begins is the
FOCUS, or
HYPOCENTER

The point directly


above the focus on
the surface is the
EPICENTER

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ELASTIC REBOUND THEORY


Rocks bend under stress while storing elastic energy. When the
strain in the rocks exceeds their strength, breaking will occur along
the fault. Stored elastic energy is released as the earthquake.
Rockssnap back, or rebound to their original condition.

ELASTIC
REBOUND
THEORY

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SAN ANDREAS

SAN ANDREAS

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Foreshocks and Aftershocks

Adjustments that follow a major


earthquake often generate smaller
earthquakes called aftershocks
Small earthquakes, called
foreshocks, sometimes precede a
major earthquake by days (in some
cases, by as much as several years)

Study of Earthquakes

The study of earthquake waves,


Seismology, dates back almost 2000
years to the Chinese Seismographs
(instruments that record seismic
waves).
The first seismograph called DiDong-Di was invented by Cheng
Heng (132 A.D.).

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Seismograph?

Seismograph?
The ancient Chinese seismograph
consist of a special vase that had eight
sculpted dragons mounted around the
vase in eight primary directions. Each
dragon held in its mouth a metal ball.
When the ground shook, some of the
balls would fall from the mouths of the
dragons into the waiting mouths of the
sculpted frogs to show how the ground
had moved.

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Earthquake Waves

The energy released during the


earthquake travels as waves
Modern Seismograph can measure the
intensity and duration of these waves in
different directions.
A Seismogram is visual record of arrival
time and magnitude of shaking associated
with seismic wave, generated by a
seismograph.

Seismograph

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Modern
Seismograph
(Horizontal)

Modern
Seismograph
(Horizontal)

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Seismogram

BODY WAVES

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BODY WAVES

BODY WAVES

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BODY WAVES

SURFACE WAVES
Rayleigh

Love

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WAVES

Compression (P) wave is fastest wave.

Shear (S) wave is second fastest wave.

Rayleigh (R) or surface wave is very close


to S-wave velocity (90 to 94%).
Love (L) wave: interface boundary effect
(approximately same velocity as R-waves)

EARTHQUAKES
CHARACTERISTICS

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Location and Intensity of Earthquake

Seismographic stations around the


World work together to
record earthquake location
determine earthquake Magnitude

Locating the Source of an Earthquake


(Method 1)

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Locating the Source of an Earthquake


(Method 1)

Locating the Source of an Earthquake


(Method 1)

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Locating the Source of an Earthquake


(Method 2)

Distance from Epicenter to


Location of Seismograph =

(215 km)

Locating the Source of an Earthquake


(Method 2)

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Locating the Source of an Earthquake


(Method 2)

Earthquake Depth
Earthquakes usually occur at some depth below the
ground Surface. The depth can also be calculated from
seismograph records
Earthquake foci are described as:

Shallow: less than 70 km depth

Intermediate/Deep: 70 - 300 km depth

90% of earthquake foci are less than 100 km deep


Large earthquakes are mostly at < 60 km depth
No earthquakes occur deeper than 300 km

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EARTHQUAKE INTENSITY

Intensity Scale

Modified Mercalli
from FEMA
I. People do not feel any Earth movement.

II. A few people might notice movement if they are at rest and/or
on the upper floors of tall buildings.
III. Many people indoors feel movement. Hanging objects swing
back and forth. People outdoors might not realize that an
earthquake is occurring.
IV. Most people indoors feel movement. Hanging objects swing.
Dishes, windows, and doors rattle. The earthquake feels like a
heavy truck hitting the walls. A few people outdoors may feel
movement. Parked cars rock.
V. Almost everyone feels movement. Sleeping people are
awakened. Doors swing open or close. Dishes are broken.
Pictures on the wall move. Small objects move or are turned
over. Trees might shake. Liquids might spill out of open
containers.

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Intensity Scale

Modified Mercalli
from FEMA
VI. Everyone feels movement. People have trouble walking. Objects fall
from shelves. Pictures fall off walls. Furniture moves. Plaster in
walls might crack. Trees and bushes shake. Damage is slight in
poorly built buildings. No structural damage.
VII. People have difficulty standing. Drivers feel their cars shaking.
Some furniture breaks. Loose bricks fall from buildings. Damage is
slight to moderate in well-built buildings; considerable in poorly
built buildings.
VIII. Drivers have trouble steering. Houses that are not bolted down
might shift on their foundations. Tall structures such as towers and
chimneys might twist and fall. Well-built buildings suffer slight
damage. Poorly built structures suffer severe damage. Tree
branches break. Hillsides might crack if the ground is wet. Water
levels in wells might change.
IX. Well-built buildings suffer considerable damage. Houses that are
not bolted down move off their foundations. Some underground
pipes are broken. The ground cracks. Reservoirs suffer serious
damage.

Modified Mercalli
from FEMA

Intensity Scale

X. Most buildings and their foundations are destroyed. Some


bridges are destroyed. Dams are seriously damaged. Large
landslides occur. Water is thrown on the banks of canals, rivers,
lakes. The ground cracks in large areas. Railroad tracks are
bent slightly.
XI. Most buildings collapse. Some bridges are destroyed. Large
cracks appear in the ground. Underground pipelines are
destroyed. Railroad tracks are badly bent.
XII. Almost everything is destroyed. Objects are thrown into the air.
The ground moves in waves or ripples. Large amounts of rock
may move.

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EARTHQUAKE MAGNITUDE

Richter Local Magnitude, ML


Function of amplitude of
recorded seismic wave.

Moment Magnitude, MW
Function of (1) Amount of slip

(meters) on the fault, (2) Area of


fault plane, and (3) Rigidity of
the rocks.

Earthquake -Richter Magnitude

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Richter Local Magnitude

ML = log10A(mm) + (Distance correction factor)

Here A is the amplitude, in millimeters,

measured directly from the photographic


paper record of the Wood-Anderson
seismometer, a special type of instrument.
The distance factor comes from a table that
can be found in Richter's (1958) book
Elementary Seismology.

ENERGY

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Predicting Earthquake?
Strange Animal Behavior
stress in the rocks causes hairline fractures to form, the
cracking of the rocks emits high pitched sounds and
minute vibrations imperceptible to humans but
noticeable by many animals.

Foreshocks
unusual increase in the frequency of small earthquakes
before the main shock

Changes in water level


porosity increases or decreases with changes in strain

Seismic Gaps
based of the chronological distribution of major
earthquakes

Predicting Earthquake?

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PROTECTING AGAINST EARTHQUAKE DAMAGE


Prepare a Seismic Risk Map for the globe which identifies
rock types, liquefaction potential, landslide potential.
Extensive geologic surveying has to be done to
identify all active faults, including hidden faults.
Earthquake Resistant Design of Structures
Enact building codes to design and build earthquakeresistant structures in high seismic risk areas.
Critical facilities such as nuclear power plants and dams
should be built on stable ground and as far as possible
from active faults.

Bigger Faults Make Bigger Earthquakes

Kilometers

1000

100

10

1
5.5

6.5
7
Magnitude

7.5

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Bigger Earthquakes Last a Longer Time

Seconds

100

10

1
5.5

6.5

7.5

Magnitude

What Controls the Level of Shaking?


Magnitude

More energy released


Distance
Shaking decays with
distance

Local

soils

amplify the shaking

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