A groundbreaking study led by University of Miami (UM) scientist Shimon Wdowinski shows that earthquakes, including the recent 2010 temblors in Haiti and Taiwan, may be triggered by tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons), according to a presentation of the findings at the 2011 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco.During the last 50 years three very wet tropical cyclone events — Typhoons Morakot, Herb and Flossie — were followed within four years by major earthquakes in Taiwan’s mountainous regions. The 2009 Morakot typhoon was followed by a M-6.2 in 2009 and M-6.4 in 2010. The 1996 Typhoon Herb was followed by M-6.2 in 1998 and M-7.6 in 1999 and the 1969 Typhoon Flossie was followed by a M-6.2 in 1972.
The researchers suggest that rain-induced landslides and excess rain carries eroded material downstream. As a result the surface load above the fault is lessened.”The reduced load unclamp the faults, which can promote an earthquake,” said Wdowinski.
Fractures in Earth’s bedrock from the movement of tectonic plates, known as faults, build up stress as they attempt to slide past each other, periodically releasing the stress in the form of an earthquake.
According to the scientists, this earthquake-triggering mechanism is only viable on inclined faults, where the rupture by these faults has a significant vertical movement.
Wdowinski also shows a trend in the tropical cyclone-earthquake pattern exists in M-5 and above earthquakes. The researchers plan to analyze patterns in other seismically active mountainous regions — such as the Philippines and Japan — that are subjected to tropical cyclones activity.
Source : Science Daily
- Heavy tropical cyclone rains linked to earthquakes (wattsupwiththat.com)
- Global warming causes earthquakes? (junkscience.com)
- Research study shows link between earthquakes and tropical cyclones (eurekalert.org)
- Why the Haiti earthquake may not have been a natural disaster (independent.co.uk)
- Major earthquakes might be triggered by hurricanes [Geology] (io9.com)
- New post Heavy tropical cyclone rains linked to earthquakes (acckkii.wordpress.com)