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Thread: Earthquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    (CNN) -- A volcano in south-central Alaska could erupt within days or weeks, authorities said.
    A look at the east flank of the Mount Redoubt volcano in November.




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    "The level of seismic activity" has "increased markedly" in recent days at Mount Redoubt, a 10,197-foot peak about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, the state's most populous city, according to the Alaska Volcano Observatory.
    "We don't have a crystal ball," said Peter Cervelli, a research geophysicist with the observatory. But "we expect based on the past behavior of this volcano that this activity is going to culminate in an eruption."
    The activity has consisted "of a combination of discrete, relatively small earthquakes and periods of more continuous volcanic tremor." The activity prompted the observatory to raise the alert level Sunday, the observatory said.
    The volcano last erupted nearly 20 years ago, in December 1989, and continued until April 1990. Geologists think there could be an eruption "similar to or smaller than the one that occurred in 1989-90."
    The eruption nearly two decades ago spread ash in Kenai, about 50 miles west of the mountain, and in Anchorage, where it disrupted air traffic operations. Cervelli said the ash plumes caused engine failure on a jet during that period.
    "It's not the closest volcano to Anchorage," Cervelli said, but "it has the potential to disrupt air traffic at Anchorage."
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    The 1989-90 eruption also spurred volcanic mudflows, or lahars, that flowed east down the Drift River. The ash fall was seen as far away as Fairbanks and the Yukon Territory border.
    The observatory is aggressively monitoring the volcano. It has set up a Web camera near the summit of the mountain and and another within Cook Inlet. It plans continued visual surveillance and will measure gas output and analyze satellite and weather-radar data.
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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Ugh, that'd be bad.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Got any seismographic data for this volcano? Would be interesting to compare to Yellowstone.

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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    No, Fox was talking about it this morning, I pulled up a couple of articles and did a post and run.
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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Alaskans Brace for Redoubt Volcano Eruption

    Friday, January 30, 2009 R. Clucas/Alaska Volcano Observatory

    A volcanic cloud shoots up from Mount Redoubt during its last eruption cycle on April 21, 1990.


    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Hardware stores and auto parts shops scored a post-holiday run of business this week as Anchorage-area residents stocked up on protective eyewear and masks ahead of a possible eruption of Mount Redoubt.

    Monitoring earthquakes underneath the 10,200-foot Redoubt Volcano about 100 miles southwest of Anchorage, scientists from the Alaska Volcano Observatory warned that an eruption was imminent "perhaps within hours," sending experienced Alaskans shopping for protection against a dusty shower of volcanic ash that could descend on south-central Alaska.

    "Every time this happens we do get a run on dust masks and goggles," said Phil Robinson, manager of an Alaska Industrial Hardware store in Anchorage. "That's the two main things for eye and respiratory protection."

    WEBCAMS: Monitor Alaska's Volcanoes Live
    Customer Ron Cowan picked up gear at the store Thursday before heading off to an auto parts store for a spare air filter.
    "I'm older now and I'm being a little more proactive than I was the last time," Cowan said.
    When another Alaska volcano, Mount Spurr, blew in 1992, he waited too long.
    "The shelves were cleared, so I thought I wouldn't wait until the last minute," Cowan said.
    Unlike earthquakes, volcanoes often give off warning signs that usually give people time to prepare.
    • Click here to visit FOXNews.com's Natural Science Center.
    The observatory, a joint program between the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Alaska Geophysical Institute and the state Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, was formed in response to the 1986 eruption of Mount Augustine.

    It has a variety of tools to predict eruptions. As magma moves beneath a volcano before an eruption, it often generates earthquakes, swells the surface of a mountain and increases the gases emitted. The observatory samples gases, measures earthquake activity with seismometers and watches for deformities in the landscape.
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    On Nov. 5, geologists noted changed emissions and minor melting near the Redoubt summit and raised the threat level from green to yellow. It jumped to orange — the stage just before eruption — on Sunday in response to a sharp increase in earthquake activity below the volcano.

    Alaska's volcanoes are not like Hawaii's. "Most of them don't put out the red river of lava," said the observatory's John Power.

    Instead, they typically explode and shoot ash 30,000 to 50,000 feet high — more than nine miles — into the jet stream.

    "It's a very abrasive kind of rock fragment," Power said. "It's not the kind of ash that you find at the base of your wood stove."

    The particulate has jagged edges and has been used as an industrial abrasive. "They use this to polish all kinds of metals," he said.

    Particulate can injure skin, eyes and breathing passages. The young, the elderly and people with respiratory problems are especially susceptible. Put enough ash under a windshield wiper and it will scratch glass.

    It's also potentially deadly for anyone flying in a jet. "Think of flying an airliner into a sandblaster," Power said.

    Redoubt blew on Dec. 15, 1989, and sent ash 150 miles away into the path of a KLM jet carrying 231 passengers. Its four engines flamed out.

    As the crew tried to restart the engines, "smoke" and a strong odor of sulfur filled the cockpit and cabin, according to a USGS account. The jet dropped more than 2 miles, from 27,900 feet to 13,300 feet, before the crew was able to restart all engines and land the plane safely at Anchorage. The plane required $80 million in repairs.

    The observatory's first call after an eruption is now
    to the Federal Aviation Administration. The observatory's data collection has become far more advanced in 19 years, as has the alert system.

    "Pilots are routinely trained to avoid ash and in what to do if they encounter an ash cloud," Power said. "That kind of thing was not routinely done in the 1980s."

    The jet stream can carry ash for hundreds of miles. Ash from Kasatochi Volcano in the Aleutians last August blew all the way to Montana and threatened aircraft, Power said.

    Particulate is mildly corrosive but can be blocked with masks and filters.

    Power advises Alaskans to prepare as they would for a bad snowstorm: Keep flashlights, batteries and several days' worth of food in the house, limit driving and prepare to hunker down if the worst of an ash cloud hits.

    Merely going indoors is a defense against ash. The American Red Cross recommends wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants outside, plus goggles and glasses instead of contact lenses. If no dust mask is available, an effective respiratory filter is a damp cloth over nose and mouth.

    But potential danger all depends on the wind. Mount Spurr erupted three times in 1992. When it blew that June, only climbers on Mount McKinley — about 150 miles north of Anchorage — were affected, Power said. An August eruption dumped significant ash on Anchorage and a September blow sent ash about 40 miles north of Anchorage to Wasilla.

    Dust mask customer Elizabeth Keating said Thursday that if the volcano erupts, she expects to stay inside. She bought masks for her school-age grandchildren to carry in their backpacks.

    "I want to make sure they're carrying these in case they're en route," she said.
    Last edited by Malsua; January 30th, 2009 at 12:25.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    In the same way that I'd like to be in a safe spot during a CAT 5 hurricane, I'd like to experience a volcano. Not in a pompeii like way...I can do without the pyroclastic flow.
    "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
    -- Theodore Roosevelt


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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Dad-gum Fox News! They have a 10-second blub on a 4.6 earthquake that hit the Seattle-Tacoma area at 5-something their time--and then no further reporting. Finally found something on the Internet that was worthless. The Internet report claimed very little damage. But the pictures shown on Fox looked like there might be a fire or two!

    Are the Alaskan volcano and this earthquake related? Checking the scientists in both fields, there seems to be a consensus of "no." Earthquakes in one region do not cause earthquakes in another region. But on "paper" as one follows the frequency and time-relationships between earthquakes, it sure seems so.

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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Quote Originally Posted by wallis View Post
    Are the Alaskan volcano and this earthquake related? Checking the scientists in both fields, there seems to be a consensus of "no." Earthquakes in one region do not cause earthquakes in another region. But on "paper" as one follows the frequency and time-relationships between earthquakes, it sure seems so.
    Exactly... I've thought for a while that there is some relation between larger earthquakes. I mean really, you can't have such massive movement in one area of the earth and not have a reaction in another. It just doesn't seem logical.

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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Quote Originally Posted by wallis View Post
    Dad-gum Fox News! They have a 10-second blub on a 4.6 earthquake that hit the Seattle-Tacoma area at 5-something their time--and then no further reporting. Finally found something on the Internet that was worthless. The Internet report claimed very little damage. But the pictures shown on Fox looked like there might be a fire or two!

    Are the Alaskan volcano and this earthquake related? Checking the scientists in both fields, there seems to be a consensus of "no." Earthquakes in one region do not cause earthquakes in another region. But on "paper" as one follows the frequency and time-relationships between earthquakes, it sure seems so.
    Ummm no Wallis this is inaccurate. Earthquakes in one region don't "cause" them not on a normal time scale, however, there is extremely strong evidence that quakes occur on a 'traveling scale'.

    At the moment I am forgetting the term - but there was a study on this, and some quakes were tracked across Europe, specifically I think in the middle east some place and there was a kind of series over several years where one quake happened and they were plotted on a map, and you could see the quakes travel across the land masses.

    Not sure if that's what you guys are referring to exactly, but its thought by some that if there is a quake in one place it tends to weaken the ground structure and the quakes will occur again, somewhere else along a certain path.
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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    I like that "traveling scale" idea. Kind of reminds me of "waves" or ripples. An earthquake here could later affect the "balance" of a rift somewhere else on the planet.

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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Scientist see holes in glacier at Alaska volcano

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Geologists monitoring Mount Redoubt for signs of a possible eruption noticed that a hole in the glacier clinging to the north side of the volcano had doubled in size overnight — and now spans the length of two football fields.

    Scientists with the Alaska Volcano Observatory on Friday flew close to Drift Glacier and spotted vigorous steam emitted from a hole on the mountain. By Saturday, they had confirmed the area was a fumarole, an opening in the earth that emits gases and steam, that was increasing in size at an alarming rate.

    They also saw water streaming down the glacier, indicating heat from magma is reaching higher elevations of the mountain.

    "The glacier is sort of falling apart in the upper part," research geologist Kristi Wallace said.

    The signs of heat add to concerns that an eruption is near, which could send an ash cloud about 100 miles northeast toward Anchorage, the state's largest city, or onto communities on the Kenai Peninsula, which is even closer to the mountain on the west side of Cook Inlet. It would be the first eruption since 1990.

    Particulate released during an eruption has jagged edges and can injure skin, eyes and breathing passages, especially in young children, the elderly and people with respiratory problems.

    It can also foul engines. An eruption in December 1989 sent out an ash cloud 150 miles that flamed out the jet engines of a KLM flight carrying 231 passengers on its way to Anchorage. The jet dropped more than two miles before pilots were able to restart the engines and land safely.

    A week ago, the observatory detected a sharp increase in earthquake activity below the volcano and upgraded its alert level to orange, the stage just before full eruption. The warning that an eruption was imminent caused a rush on dust masks and car air filters in Anchorage.

    Alaska's volcanoes typically start with an explosion that can shoot ash 50,000 feet high and into the jet stream, but there are warning signs because magma causes small earthquakes as it moves.

    Geologist Jennifer Adleman said the observatory has been recording quakes up to magnitude 2.1 but not at the frequency that preceded the last two eruptions in 1989 and 1990.

    "We're looking for an increase of seismicity to match the precursor activity," Wallace said. "We haven't seen that yet."


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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Volcano Erupts Near Tokyo, Raining Ash On City
    A snowcapped volcano northwest of Tokyo erupted early Monday, sending up a huge plume of smoke and gas and raining fine, powdery ash on parts of Japan's capital.

    There were no reports of injuries or damage from the eruption of Mount Asama, which is about 90 miles northwest of Tokyo.

    The volcano erupted at 1:51 a.m. (0451 GMT, 11:51 p.m. EST) Monday, belching out a plume that rose about a mile high, according to Japan's Meteorological Agency. The plume was still roiling over the volcano's crater late Monday.

    Chunks of rock from the explosion were found about 3,300 feet away from the volcano. Ash was detected over a wide area, including central Tokyo. In the town of Karuizawa, southeast of the volcano, the ash was thick enough to obscure road markings in some areas, town official Noboru Yanagishi said.

    "Some people said they heard a strange noise in the morning when the eruption occurred," he said.

    The eruption was not big enough to disrupt daily life near the volcano, though many people awoke to find their cars covered in a fine layer of powder. National broadcaster NHK showed people in Tokyo lining up to get carwashes, or wiping the ash from their windows.

    In Tachikawa, a district in the northwest area of Tokyo, some farming areas were coated with ash.

    "Because it's February and not harvesting season, there was no real damage to any crops," said Shoichi Matsumoto, a local official.

    At Tsumagoi, a small town on the volcano with ski resorts and hot spring baths, residents went about their business as usual. Travelers planning vacations to the area had called to inquire, but no one had canceled, said Masaru Yoshida, a spokesman for the local tourist association.

    "The wind has blown the ash to the other side of the mountain," he said. "It's a clear day so you can see some smoke, but not as much as we've had in the past."

    Mount Asama has been active for thousands of years.

    Its last major eruption took place in September 2004, spewing enough ash to damage local crops. It frequently spews smaller amounts of ash from its crater.

    With 108 active volcanos, Japan is among the most seismically busy countries in the world. The country lies in the "Ring of Fire" — a series of volcanoes and fault lines that outline the Pacific Ocean.

    An alert level of three was in place Monday for a 2.5-mile radius, which bars entry into the area and urges nearby residents to take caution. Alert level four advises residents to prepare for evacuation, while level five, the highest, orders evacuation, according to the Meteorological Agency.

    "We don't think there will be any stronger eruptions, but we don't see the activity stopping anytime soon, either," agency official Kazuya Kokubo said.

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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Powerful Earthquake Rocks Swine Flu Plagued Mexico City

    An earthquake struck Mexico City last night. It reportedly hit 6.0 on the richter scale. Quakes of that magnitude are officially classified as strong and are capable of causing severe damage.

    Buildings in the capital shook but there are not yet reports of major damage. The scene on Mexico City, however, mirrored that in New York City as a military test sparked worries, with workers fleeing tall office buildings.

    This comes on rumors that the mayor of Mexico City is considering "closing" the city. We have no idea whether that means evacuating the city or simply preventing outsiders from entering in a kind of quarantine.
    Mexico is the second largest trading partner of the US and the 14th largest economy in the world.

    Developing...

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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Supervolcano May Be Brewing Beneath Mount St. Helens
    IS A supervolcano brewing beneath Mount St Helens? Peering under the volcano has revealed what may be an extraordinarily large zone of semi-molten rock, which would be capable of feeding a giant eruption.

    Magma can be detected with a technique called magnetotellurics, which builds up a picture of what lies underground by measuring fluctuations in electric and magnetic fields at the surface. The fields fluctuate in response to electric currents travelling below the surface, induced by lightning storms and other phenomena. The currents are stronger when magma is present, since it is a better conductor than solid rock.

    Graham Hill of GNS Science, an earth and nuclear science institute in Wellington, New Zealand, led a team that set up magnetotelluric sensors around Mount St Helens in Washington state, which erupted with force in 1980. The measurements revealed a column of conductive material that extends downward from the volcano. About 15 kilometres below the surface, the relatively narrow column appears to connect to a much bigger zone of conductive material.

    This larger zone was first identified in the 1980s by another magnetotelluric survey, and was found to extend all the way to beneath Mount Rainier 70 kilometres to the north-east, and Mount Adams 50 kilometres to the east. It was thought to be a zone of wet sediment, water being a good electrical conductor.

    However, since the new measurements show an apparent conduit connecting this conductive zone to Mount St Helens - which was undergoing a minor eruption of semi-molten material at the time the measurements were made - Hill and his colleagues now think the conductive material is more likely to be a semi-molten mixture. Its conductivity is not high enough for it to be pure magma, Hill says, so it is more likely to be a mixture of solid and molten rock.

    Gary Egbert of Oregon State University in Corvallis, who is a magnetotellurics specialist but not a member of Hill's team, is cautious about the idea of a nascent supervolcano where Mount St Helens sits. "It seems likely that there's some partial melt down there," given that it is a volcanic area, he says. "But part of the conductivity is probably just water."

    If the structure beneath the three volcanoes is indeed a vast bubble of partially molten rock, it would be comparable in size to the biggest magma chambers ever discovered, such as the one below Yellowstone National Park.

    Every few hundred thousand years, such chambers can erupt as so-called supervolcanoes - the Yellowstone one did so about 640,000 years ago. These enormous eruptions can spew enough sunlight-blocking ash into the atmosphere to cool the climate by several degrees Celsius.

    Could Mount St Helens erupt like this? "A really big, big eruption is possible if it is one of those big systems like Yellowstone," Hill says. "I don't think it will be tomorrow, but I couldn't try to predict when it would happen."

    Further measurements probing the structure of the crust beneath the other volcanoes in the area could help determine if the zone connects to them all, Hill says. He presented his team's results on 27 May at the Joint Assembly geophysics meeting in Toronto, Canada.

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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    Red sky at night: Heavens turn crimson over Britain after Russian volcano erupts

    By Daily Mail Reporter
    Last updated at 10:12 AM on 14th July 2009


    The night skies over Britain will turn a deep shade of crimson this week as the fallout from a Russian volcano blast hits the UK.

    Millions of tonnes of dust, ash and sulphur dioxide were thrown up to 30 miles into the air when Sarychev Peak on Matua Island in the Kuril Archipelago erupted last month.

    The blast created what experts call a ‘volcanic aerosol’ - a colourful mixture of ash and sulphur compounds - in the stratosphere.

    This scatters an invisible blue glow which, when mixed with the red light of the setting sun, produces a ‘volcanic lavender’, or vivid crimson/violet hue.


    Shepherd's delight: A particularly fiery red sky over fields in Leicestershire last night after an eruption at Sarychev Peak in Russia unleashed a colourful mixture of ash and sulphur. When this 'volcanic aerosol' in the stratosphere mixes with the red light of the setting sun, it produces a vivid crimson hue

    Strong winds blew the soaring plume more than 2,000 miles across the northern hemisphere before its effects were noticed in Britain last Thursday.

    The rare phenomenon was caught on camera by photographer Mark Humpage from his garden in Luttleworth, Leicestershire.

    Mark, 44, said: ‘This is one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen, and I’m looking forward to at least two more in coming days.’

    Meteorologists say the sunset spectacle will last for several days, but will only be visible on clear evenings.

    It will then continue on its journey across the Atlantic and into the skies above North America.


    Blast: The moment on June 12 that a violent volcanic eruption on the island of Matua, in Russia’s Kuril Archipelago, spewed vast amounts of ash into the sky and stopped flight traffic

    AEA environmental consultants, which is responsible for measuring air quality in Britain, confirmed the hue was triggered by the volcano.
    A spokesman said: ‘Maps from three different satellites show elevated sulphur dioxide in the Arctic region, possible of volcanic origin.

    ‘With winds veering to the North, it is possible that over coming days this volcanic aerosol could be visible.’

    Sarychev Peak is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. It is part of a chain of volcanic islands that run south from the Kamchatka Peninsula in the western Pacific Ocean.

    Commercial flights have been diverted away from the area to minimise the danger of engine failure from ash intake since the eruption on June 12.


    Good timing: The International Space Station happened to be passing the Pacific island, between the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula and Japan, when the eruption occurred - and was able to photograph the event

    During the eruption, the International Space Station passed overhead and astronauts were able to photograph the event.

    A hole in the overhead clouds, possibly caused by the shock wave from the explosion, allowed a clear view of the plume and lava flow down the sides of the mountain.

    A cap-like mushroom cloud is visible atop the rising column.
    Sarychev Peak previously erupted in 1760, 1805, 1879, 1923, 1927, 1928, 1930, 1932, 1946, 1954, 1960, 1965, 1976, 1986 and 1989.


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    Default Re: Eathquakes, Plate Tectonics and Volcanism

    A quake hit someplace... triggering a tsunami warning.

    I don't know when, where or how bad.

    How's that for reporting? LOL
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    Tremors Near San Andreas Earthquake Fault Signal Increased Stress
    Scientists have detected an increase in mysterious underground tremors along a stretch of the San Andreas fault, signaling stress that could boost the likelihood of a major earthquake.

    Seismic tools buried in deep holes near the town of Parkfield, 175 miles south of San Jose, have found that the number of tremors along the fault has increased up to 80 percent over four years, according to University of California-Berkeley seismologist Robert Nadeau and graduate student Aurélie Guilhem.

    The study, published in Friday's issue of the journal Science, offers no precise forecast of a rupture along this restless region. But it may bring scientists one step closer toward the long-sought goal of predicting potentially devastating quakes. The same pressure that stimulates tremors may also stimulate quakes.

    Quakes are brief and fairly shallow events; tremors are ongoing, low-level rumblings from perhaps 10 to 20 miles beneath the surface. In Parkfield, each tremor may last three to 21 minutes.

    "Tremors are very sensitive to stress changes. They can signal that there are deep stress changes going on that we hadn't detected before," said Nadeau. "They may give us useful information about the likelihood of earthquakes — if not now, someday."

    Little has been known about the behavior of tremors, but this study shows that they are far more widespread than once thought. For this study, Nadeau and Guilhem pinpointed the location
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    of nearly 2,200 tremors recorded between 2001 and 2009 by seismometers implanted along the fault as part of UC-Berkeley's Seismic Network. The increase was noted since 2004, about the time of the 6.0-magnitude Parkfield quake.

    Scientists are now searching for tremors in the San Juan Bautista area of Monterey County, as well as Southern California. With current tools, it is difficult to measure tremors in urban regions like the Bay Area because of the many sources of man-made rumbling, such as auto traffic and trains.

    It is well established that earthquakes are a source of tremors. Scientists have found that underground stress increased after the 6.5-magnitude San Simeon quake in 2003 and the Parkfield quake.

    But there was an unusually strong episode of tremors in the weeks leading up to the earthquakes, which suggests that tremors could precede future quakes.

    After both quakes, persistent episodes of tremors have continued — an indication that this stretch of the San Andreas fault did not release stress, as once imagined, but instead has turned into a region of new stress and deformation.

    "What's surprising is that the activity has not gone down to its old level," before the quakes, said Nadeau.

    Most tremors are found on the edge of a "locked" zone, a segment of a fault that hasn't moved in years and is at high risk of a major earthquake. The new report strengthens that association, said Nadeau.

    The recently increased rate of tremors may indicate that stress is accumulating more rapidly than in the past along this segment of the San Andreas fault, which is at risk of breaking like it did in 1857 to produce the great 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

    "What we learn here may apply to other tremors that are starting to be discovered," said Nadeau.

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
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    it's not long til 2012 you know.
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