Scientists have reported large scale movement along the San Andreas Fault system in California, sparking fears of a mega Earthquake in the coming weeks.
According to a Yahoo News report, scientists have detected lots of unusual movement along the fault line, with surrounding areas of land rising and sinking in a dramatic manner.
The study published in the journal Nature Geoscience found that parts of California surrounding the San Andreas Fault are symbiotically, if slowly, rising and sinking.
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This is the first time hard evidence has been given that ‘the Big One’ may be about to hit the West coast of America.
The University of Hawaii reports:
New assessment revealed the pattern
To tease out such motions, the team used a comprehensive statistical technique to extract from the GPS data a pattern of large-scale, smoothly varying vertical motions of the local crust. “While the San Andreas GPS data has been publicly available for more than a decade, the vertical component of the measurements had largely been ignored in tectonic investigations because of difficulties in interpreting the noisy data,” said Howell. “Using this technique, we were able to break down the noisy signals to isolate a simple vertical motion pattern that curiously straddled the San Andreas fault.”
Confirmation of predicted motion
The pattern resulting from their data analysis was similar in magnitude and direction to motions predicted by previously published earthquake cycle model results led by co-authors Bridget Smith-Konter, associate professor at SOEST, and David Sandwell, professor at SIO. “We were surprised and thrilled when this statistical method produced a coherent velocity field similar to the one predicted by our physical earthquake cycle models,” said Smith-Konter. “The powerful combination of a priori model predictions and a unique analysis of vertical GPS data led us to confirm that the buildup of century-long earthquake cycle forces within the crust are a dominant source of the observed vertical motion signal.