Course Title IEQ-05 : Earthquake Geology and Geoinformatics (Dept.

of Earthquake Engineering, IIT Roorkee)

What is an earthquake?
An earthquake is the vibration of the earth produced by the quick release of energy. Most often, earthquakes are caused by movement along large fractures in the earth’s crust. Such fractures are called faults. The energy that is released radiates in all directions from its origin in the form of waves. These waves are similar to the waves that occur when you drop a stone into water. Just as the stone sets the water in motion, the energy released in an earthquake produces seismic waves that move through the earth. Frequency range of seismic waves is large, from as high as the audible range (greater than 20 hertz) to as low as the frequencies of the free oscillations of the whole Earth (2 and 7 millihertz). Attenuation of the waves in rock imposes high-frequency limits, and in small to moderate earthquakes the dominant frequencies extend in surface waves from about 1 to 0.1 hertz. The amplitude range of seismic waves is also great in most earthquakes. In the greatest earthquakes the ground amplitude of the predominant P waves may be several centimeters at periods of two to five seconds. Very close to the seismic sources of great earthquakes, investigators have measured large wave amplitudes with accelerations of the ground exceeding that of gravity (9.8 meters, or 32.2 feet, per second squared) at high frequencies and ground displacements of 1 meter at low frequencies.

elastic energy stored in the rubber band during the stretching will suddenly be released. the crust of the earth can gradually store elastic stress that is released suddenly during an earthquake.Earthquake Magnitude and Energy Release Equivalence What is the mechanism that produces earthquakes? Earth is not a static planet: in the earth’s crust. concluded that the earthquake must have involved an "elastic rebound" of previously stored elastic stress. The place on the surface directly over the focus is called the epicentre. strain is built up. the rocks can no longer resist the strain and slip past each other into their original shape. It is this quick movement that we feel as an earthquake. As rocks don’t slide past each other very easily. This location is called the focus of the earthquake. . Reid's Elastic Rebound Theory From an examination of the displacement of the ground surface which accompanied the 1906 earthquake. In this process. just as if you bend a stick. Professor of Geology at Johns Hopkins University. This “springing back” of the rock is called elastic rebound. the material is deformed. The elastic rebound usually happens a few kilometres deep in the crust. Henry Fielding Reid. At a certain level. If a stretched rubber band is broken or cut. tectonic forces are constantly at work pushing rocks on both sides of a fault in different directions. Similarly.

but now there is an offset. The following diagram illustrates the process. it gradually distorts the fence.This gradual accumulation and release of stress and strain is now referred to as the "elastic rebound theory" of earthquakes. Just before an earthquake. the fence has an "S" shape. Start at the bottom. When the earthquake occurs the distortion is released and the two parts of the fence are again straight. Most earthquakes are the result of the sudden elastic rebound of previously stored energy. . As the Pacific plate moves northwest. A straight fence is built across the San Andreas fault.


Some travel along the earth’s outer layer and are called surface waves.) Creep events.Slow. Conventional seismographs do not record these events. Silent earthquakes may offer promise as precursors to ordinary earthquakes. Thus they do not generate high-frequency waves that are recorded teleseismically. which is generally several kilometers per second. Silent earthquakes (speed of tens of meters per sec. Two types of waves can be distinguished. we think of a crack that propagates through the crust close to the shear-wave speed. Fault rupture is sudden. 1. 2. creep events (on the San Andreas fault) during which propagation along a fault occurs at rates of millimeters per year. Earth deformation occurs at rates that differ widely. Quiet and Silent Earthquakes • When we think of an earthquake source. such as the 1960 Chilean transform fault earthquake that ruptured for about an hour as a series of small events. However. . Others travel through the earth’s interior and are called body waves. Body waves are further divided into Primary waves (P waves) Secondary waves (S waves). • • • • Slow earthquakes include episodes of rupture propagation that produce an ordinary seismogram of high-frequency body waves. Oceanic transform faults have produced several slow earthquakes. Strain metes document creep events on the San Andreas fault system (10mm/sec). accompanied by violent shaking of the ground. slow earthquakes take an unusually long time to rupture in comparison to ordinary earthquakes of similar moment magnitude. But. From fast ruptures that suddenly release stored elastic-strain energy • • • • • • • Ordinary earthquakes to Slow earthquakes (speed of hundreds of meters per second). • • • • How can the energy of an earthquake be felt? The energy that is released in an earthquake travels in waves through the materials of the earth. and finally strain migration episodes with speeds in centimeters or millimeters per second. Silent earthquakes are not accompanied by high-speed rupture propagation events.

P waves can travel through all these materials. Imagine holding someone by their shoulders and shaking them. This push-pull movement is how P waves move through the earth. they will not transmit S waves. Solids. An S wave is slower than a P wave and can only move through solid rock.6 km/sec in the crust) . This can be illustrated by holding one end of a rope steady and shaking the other end (see illustration below). liquids and gases resist a change in volume when compressed and will elastically spring back once the force is removed.P waves (primary waves) P waves are “push-pull” waves—they push (compress) and pull (expand) rocks in the direction the wave is travelling. S waves (secondary waves) S waves. Therefore. Highest velocity (6 km/sec in the crust). on the other hand. which for a moment change the volume of the material. Because liquids and gases do not respond elastically to changes in shape. “shake” the particles at right angles to their direction of travel. S waves change the shape of the material they travel through. (3. In contrast to P waves.

Damage nature due to body waves Surface Waves Travel just below or along the ground’s surface Slower than body waves. rolling (Rayleigh) and side-to-side (Love) movement Especially damaging to buildings .

These waves are analogous to waves travelling across the ocean. Behavior: Causes shearing motion (horizontal) similar to S waves.0 . Depth of penetration of the Love waves is also dependent on frequency. but also to and fro as wave passes. Love waves are dispersive. generally with low frequencies propagating at higher velocity. Travel just below or along the ground’s surface with side-to-side particle velocity.E. Speed is slower than body waves. The actual movement of the object describes an ellipse. Typical velocity: Depends on earth structure (dispersive). Typical velocity: Depends on earth structure (dispersive). The motion of . Love and suggested in early twentieth century. but less than velocity of S waves.5 km/s in the Earth depending on frequency of the propagating wave Rayleigh Waves After Lord Rayleigh who predicted existence in 1887. A floating object is not only pitched up and down. that is.4.H. with lower frequencies penetrating to greater depth. Arrival: They usually arrive after the S wave and before the Rayleigh wave.Love Waves After A. This wave is especially damaging to buildings. L-wave can be thought of as the constructive interference of multiple reflected S-waves whose particle motion is horizontal. but less than velocity of S waves. V L ~ 2. different periods travel at different velocities.

waves dies out quickly with depth. Typical velocity: ~ 0. Most of the shaking felt from an earthquake is due to the Rayleigh wave. Generally.9 that of the S wave Behavior: Causes vertical (rolling anticlockwise) together with back-and-forth horizontal can be much Arrival: They usually arrive last on a seismogram. Motion is similar to that of being in a boat in the ocean when a swell moves past.4. Depth of penetration of the Rayleigh waves is also dependent on frequency. Rayleigh wave can be thought of as arising from the constructive interference of multiple reflected P and S waves travelling in vertical plane. Appearance and particle motion are similar to water waves. VR ~ 2.0 . which can be much larger than the other waves. Rayleigh waves travel slightly slower than Love waves. larger than the Rayleigh waves are also dispersive and the amplitudes generally decrease with depth in the Earth. and this is also the case with Rayleigh waves. with lower frequencies penetrating to greater depth.5 km/s in the Earth depending on frequency of the propagating wave Damage pattern due to surface waves .

while the earth and the support vibrate. The movement of the earth in relation to the stationary weight is recorded on a rotating drum. What is recorded on the rotating drum is called a seismogram. Seismograms show that there are two types of seismic waves generated by the movement of a mass of rock. . Example of an earthquake record.What is a seismograph and how does it work? A seismograph is an instrument that records earthquake waves (also called seismic waves). When waves from an earthquake reach the instrument. The principle : A weight is freely suspended from a support that is attached to bedrock. the inertia of the weight keeps it stationary.

VS is less than VP Both originate at the same place – the hypocenter They travel same distance.Vs    Vp Vs     Now solve for the Distance D  Vp Vs  D=   Vp . then S waves. D Time for the S wave to travel a distance DTS = Vs D Time for the P wave to travel a distance DTP = Vp The time difference (TS – TP) = D D =D Vs Vp  1 1    Vs .Vp  = D     Vp .Locating an Earthquake’s Epicenter P waves arrive first.Vs  * (TS – TP)    Epicenter of an earthquake can be obtained by surface projection of earthquake source. the difference in arrival times at a seismograph station can be used to calculate the distance from the seismograph to the earthquake source (D). then L and R After an earthquake. use the S-P (S minus P) time formula: a method to compute the distance (D) between a recording station and an event. Distance Time = Velocity P wave has a velocity VP and S wave has a velocity VS . but the S wave takes more time than the P wave. If average speeds for all these waves are known. Travel-times for location • • Measure time between P and S wave on seismogram Use travel-time graph to get distance to epicenter .

The epicenter is located using three or more seismograph Earthquake depths  Earthquakes originate at depths ranging from 5 to nearly 700 kilometers  Earthquake foci classified as  Shallow (surface to 70 kilometers)  Intermediate (70 to 300 kilometers)  Deep (over 300 kilometers) Seismic Wave Speeds and Rock Properties Variations in the speed at which seismic waves propagate through the Earth can cause variations in seismic waves recorded at the Earth's surface Vp = 4   µ + k 3  ρ Vs = µ ρ .

Gases and fluids can not support shear forces. then the material is very stiff. If the material has a small shear modulus. or k to change will cause seismic wave speed to change. The elastic parameters quantitatively describe the following physical characteristics of the medium. For example. then a small pressure can compress the material by large amounts. isotropic media the velocities of P and S waves through the media are given by the expressions as above. . going from an unsaturated soil to a saturated soil will cause both the density and the bulk modulus to change. it will take a large force applied in this direction to deform the cube. Shear Modulus . imagine you have a cube of material firmly cemented to a table top.  When seismic waves travel from one layer to another. The bulk modulus describes the ratio of the pressure applied to the cube to the amount of volume change that the cube undergoes. Taken together. bulk modulus changes dominate this example. • Any change in rock or soil property that causes ρ. you will be able to deform the cube in the direction you are pushing it so that the cube will take on the shape of a parallelogram. going from an unsaturated soil to a saturated soil will cause both the density and the bulk modulus to change. µ. they have shear moduli of zero. notice that this implies that fluids and gases do not allow the propagation of S waves. and µ and k are referred to as the shear and bulk moduli of the media. That is. as shown in the following equation. If the material has a large shear modulus. Water is much more difficult to compress than air. Where Vp and Vs are the P and S wave velocities of the medium. Snell's law equates the ratio of material velocities V1 and V2 to the ratio of the sine's of incident and refracted angles. For example. µ and k are also known as elastic parameters. For example. Now. From the equations given above. If k is small. gases have very small incompressibilities. the P wave velocity changes a lot across water table while S wave velocities change very little. Wave Propagation Through Earth Media  Any change in rock or soil property that causes ρ. Thus. In fact. push on one of the top edges of the material parallel to the table top. µ.It can be shown that in homogeneous.  Propagation of seismic waves in media is governed by Snell’s Law Snell's Law describes the relationship between the angles and the velocities of the waves.  For example. ρ is the density of the medium.Is also known as the incompressibility of the medium.The shear modulus describes how difficult it is to deform a cube of the material under an applied shearing force. If k is very large. Solids and liquids have large incompressibilities. The bulk modulus changes because air-filled pores become filled with water. ray gets bent away from or toward the normal depending on layer density. or k to change will cause seismic wave speed to change. • Bulk Modulus . meaning that it doesn't compress very much even under large pressures.

. VL2 is the longitudinal wave velocity in material 2.sin θ1 sin θ2 = VL1 VL 2 Where: VL1 is the longitudinal wave velocity in material 1.

PKIKP – P wave that traverse inner core is denoted by I. PKJKP – Phases with an S leg in the inner core is denoted by J. PKP – P wave that has two segments in the mantle separated by a segment in the core. PSP. SSS – P or S wave reflected once or twice off earth’s surface so there are two or more P or S wave segments in the mantle. PSS – P wave twice reflected from the Earth’s surface. PPP.Shows P and S wave shadow zones that forms on other side of the earth due to the occurrence of an earthquake in opposite side. PcP – P wave reflected from outer core & mantle boundary. PPS. . S denotes converted wave. • • • • • • • • P – P wave only in the mantle PP. PKiKP – P wave reflected from outer core & inner core boundary. SS.

• • • ScP – S wave reflected from outer core-mantle boundary and converted into P type wave. . ScS – S wave reflected from outer core & mantle boundary. SKS – S wave traversing the outer core as P and converted back into S when again entering the mantle.

and Lehmann suggested that these P-waves were bounced from a solid inner core.Earth’s Major Boundaries The crust – Continental » Less dense » 20-70 km thick – Oceanic » more dense » 5-10 km thick The (Moho) Mohorovicic discontinuity Discovered in 1909 by Andriaja Mohorovicic Separates crustal materials from underlying mantle Identified by a change in the velocity of P waves • The core-mantle boundary • • Discovered in 1914 by Beno Gutenberg Based on the observation that P waves die out at 105 degrees from the earthquake and reappear at about 140 degrees • 35 degree wide belt is named the P-wave shadow zone • Discovery of the inner core • • Predicted by Inge Lehmann in 1936 P-wave shadow zone is not a perfect shadow – there are weak Pwaves arriving. .

These stronger parts are called barriers or asperities. These patches or barriers are the location of numerous aftershocks which represent the release of stress through static fatigue. just prior to the earthquake (main shock) the fault is not in a state of uniform stress but rather there has been some release of stress over part of the fault through foreshocks leaving behind strong patches or asperities which are broken resulting in a smoothly slipped fault (lower right). According to the asperity hypothesis. the fault is in a state of uniform stress (upper left) before the earthquake. During the earthquake the rupture propagates leaving unbroken stronger patches (upper right). Barriers and asperities are significant to earthquake ground motion because they represent locations of concentrated stress release and localized stopping and starting of the rupturing fault. The left side of the above figure shows the condition of a fault just before an earthquake while the right side shows its condition after an earthquake. According to the barrier hypothesis. The shaded portion indicates a stressed portion of the fault while the unshaded is the slipped or unstressed portion. . The existence of both aftershocks and foreshocks indicate that some strong patches behave as barriers while others behave as asperities. while the lower part is based on the asperity hypothesis.Foreshocks and Aftershocks Faults are believed to consist of stronger and weaker parts whose ability to rupture during an earthquake varies. These two terms assign different roles to the stronger patches in the earthquake rupture process. The upper part of the figure is based on the barrier hypothesis.

Trees and bushes shake. Most buildings collapse. Loose bricks fall from buildings. The ground moves in waves or ripples. Small objects move or are turned over.Measuring the size of earthquakes Two measurements that describe the size of an earthquake are • • • Intensity – a measure of the degree of earthquake shaking at a given locale based on the amount of damage Magnitude – estimates the amount of energy released at the source of the earthquake The drawback of intensity scales is that destruction may not be a true measure of the earthquakes actual severity The Modified Mercalli (MM) Scale of Earthquake Intensity (Developed in 1931 by the American seismologists Harry Wood and Frank Neuman) Intensity I II III IV Felt / Damage People do not feel any Earth movement. Large landslides occur. Water is thrown on the banks of canals. Trees might shake. Objects are thrown into the air. Many people indoors feel movement. Houses that are not bolted down move off their foundations. Tree branches break. Some underground pipes are broken. Hillsides might crack if the ground is wet. Large amounts of rock may move. Underground pipelines are destroyed. Reservoirs suffer serious damage. Drivers have trouble steering. Railroad tracks are badly bent. Hanging objects swing. Plaster in walls might crack. Tall structures such as towers and chimneys might twist and fall. People have difficulty standing. Everyone feels movement. Drivers feel their cars shaking. A few people outdoors may feel movement. Damage is slight to moderate in well-built buildings. Almost everyone feels movement. considerable in poorly built buildings. The earthquake feels like a heavy truck hitting the walls. Poorly built structures suffer severe damage. A few people might notice movement if they are at rest and/or on the upper floors of tall buildings. lakes. Liquids might spill out of open containers. Pictures fall off walls. Almost everything is destroyed. Parked cars rock. Water levels in wells might change. Objects fall from shelves. Railroad tracks are bent slightly. Well-built buildings suffer slight damage. Hanging objects swing back and forth. Some bridges are destroyed. Sleeping people are awakened. The ground cracks in large areas. People have trouble walking. Large cracks appear in the ground. Furniture moves. Some bridges are destroyed. No structural damage. Doors swing open or close. People outdoors might not realize that an earthquake is occurring. Some furniture breaks. Well-built buildings suffer considerable damage. Most buildings and their foundations are destroyed. and doors rattle. Dishes. V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII . Dishes are broken. windows. Damage is slight in poorly built buildings. Houses that are not bolted down might shift on their foundations. Pictures on the wall move. The ground cracks. rivers. Most people indoors feel movement. Dams are seriously damaged.

He calibrated his scale of magnitudes using measured maximum amplitudes of shear waves recorded in southern California. an earthquake trace with amplitude 10 micro meter of seismograph at an epicentral distance of 100 km has magnitude 1.0 micro meter at a distance of 100 km from the epicenter on WoodAnderson seismograph with time period 0. A0 is the amplitude for zero magnitude earthquakes. ML = log10A(mm) + (Distance correction factor) Here A is the amplitude. Wood-Anderson seismograph has a natural oscillation period of about 0.8 seconds. in millimeters.log10A0 Where. He proposed zero magnitude for an earthquake that would produce a record with amplitude of 1.0 . Thus. Magnitude scales have the general form: where A: amplitude of the signal T: its dominant period f : correction for the variation of amplitude with the earthquake’s depth h and distance ∆ from the seismometer C: regional scale factor Richter Magnitude Charles Richter developed the first magnitude scale in 1935. Concept: the wave amplitude reflects the earthquake size once the amplitudes are corrected for the decrease with distance due to geometric spreading and attenuation.25 Hz natural frequency). damping h 0. Richter’s magnitude is the logarithm to the base 10 of the maximum seismic wave amplitude. a special type of instrument. ML = log10A . in thousandths of a millimeter. recorded on a special type of seismograph (Wood-Anderson seismograph) at a distance of 100 km from the earthquake epicenter.8 sec (1. and waves of longer period are increasingly diminished on the records even if they are present in the ground.8 and 2800 magnification factor. The logarithmic form of Richter magnitude scale (ML) for 100 km epicentral distance is as given below.Magnitude Magnitude of earthquake is a measure of energy and based on the amplitude of the waves recorded on a seismogram. measured directly from the photographic paper record of the Wood-Anderson seismometer.

.The distance factor by Richter The diagram below demonstrates how to use Richter's original method to measure a seismogram for a magnitude estimate in Southern California: The scales in the diagram above form a nomogram that allows you to do the mathematical computation quickly by eye.

h) is a correction factor that depends on distance to the quake's epicenter D (in degrees) and focal depth h (in kilometers). Mb uses relatively short seismic waves with a 1-second period. and Q(D. But within their limits.2 and Ms above about 8. T is the wave's period (in seconds).h) where A is the ground motion (in microns).66 logD + 3.30 Ms uses 20-second waves and can handle larger sources. so to it every quake source that is larger than a few wavelengths looks the same. Mb saturates around magnitude above 6. but it too saturates around magnitude 8.3.Body-wave magnitude is Mb = log(A/T) + Q(D. That's OK for most purposes because magnitude-8 or great events happen only about once a year on average for the whole planet. these two scales are a reliable gauge of the actual energy that earthquakes release. Limitations: Magnitude saturation It’s a general phenomenon for Mb above about 6. . Surface-wave magnitude is Ms = log(A/T) + 1.

the seismic moment Mo (in dyne-centimeters): Mw = 2/3 log(Mo) . but rather how hard the earth shakes in a given geographic area. not from personal reports. Moment magnitude can match anything the Earth can throw at us. the average amount of slip. A = LW = area D = average displacement during rupture Ground Motion Acceleration Measurement Peak ground acceleration (PGA) is a measure of earthquake acceleration. So keep calling it the Richter scale if you like—it's the scale Richter would have made if he could. Unlike the Richter magnitude scale. Moment = µ A D µ = shear modulus.7 This scale therefore does not saturate. although it generally correlates well with the Mercalli scale. which is close enough to Richter's old ML. is not based on seismometer readings at all but on the total energy released in a quake. . Still. Kanamori inserted an adjustment in his formula such that below magnitude 8 Mw matches Ms and below magnitude 6 matches Mb. Seismic Moment (Mo) = The seismic moment is a measure of the size of an earthquake based on the area of fault rupture.10. and the force that was required to overcome the friction sticking the rocks together that were offset by faulting. Mw.A simple solution that has been found by Kanamori: defining a magnitude scale based on the seismic moment. It is measured by instruments. Moment Magnitude. it is not a measure of the total size of the earthquake.

. In these situations. predictable manner that can be accurately scaled upward.001 to 2 g and frequencies from 0 to 100 Hz.5-5. scientists attempted to estimate the shaking from strong earthquakes by extrapolating (scaling up) the observed effects of smaller earthquakes (magnitude 2. The data seismologists record with strong motion sensors is used to improve the design of earthquake resistant buildings and to understand earthquake-induced geologic hazards like liquefaction and landslides. The range of motions of interest for strong motion applications includes accelerations from 0. 3) ground response in areas that undergo liquefaction. However. Strong motion sensors have been installed in different areas of geologic interest throughout the Pacific Northwest to provide this type of data. this approach is not applicable in every situation. The peak horizontal acceleration (PHA) is the most commonly used type of ground acceleration in engineering applications. Some geologic materials and structures do not respond to strong shaking in a simple. Strong ground motion is often to blame for the structural damage that occurs during an earthquake. These seismic waves result in the strong ground motion we feel during a large earthquake. Other ground motion parameters used to characterize earthquake motion include peak velocity and peak displacement. high frequency seismic waves typical of large local earthquakes. earth scientists hope to gain a better understanding of: 1) ground response near fault ruptures of large earthquakes 2) effects of severe shaking on different subsurface structures and geologic materials. This method works well for many applications and has improved with the use of data from strong motion instruments. scientists need actual data generated by strong ground motion to better understand the processes at work.0). Using strong motion data. Strong Motion Sensors Most strong motion sensors are designed to measure the large amplitude.Peak ground acceleration can be measured in g (the acceleration due to gravity) or m/s². Why We Need Strong Motion Sensors Before the wide use of strong motion instruments.

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