Offtopic (earthquakes, not taxonomy)

Floyd W. Shockley fshockley at BUGS.ENT.UGA.EDU
Fri Dec 31 14:22:46 CST 2004


I could be wrong, but as I understand it the quakes are connected, but not
necessarily sequentially ordered such that additional stresses caused by
previous quakes create more massive quakes.  In actuality, the original
stress of those two plates sliding past one another began building a massive
amount of potential energy, then when the Indian plate finally slipped past
the point of frictional contact, the potential energy was instantly
transmitted into kinetic energy and released as an earthquake.  However, not
all of the energy stored up prior to the quake is relieved by the quake
itself so there is residual potential energy and as the next event began to
build more energy was stored.  So, the quakes themselves are connected in
that they are being created by the same stresses but they are independent of
each other.  It is the imbalance between potential energy stored and kinetic
energy released that is causing the gradual increase in quake severity.  I
haven't looked at the position of the two plate edges to see where the
primary points of frictional contact are, but I would hypothesize that if
the main point of contact between the plates has not slipped yet southeast
Asia and the Indian region could be in for an even greater quake until the
pressure is released and the system balances itself.


-----Original Message-----
From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU]On
Behalf Of Ken Kinman
Sent: Thursday, December 30, 2004 10:10 PM
Subject: [TAXACOM] Offtopic (earthquakes, not taxonomy)

Dear All,
      I was surprised to learn that there had been another major earthquake
(8.1) between Australia and Antarctica just a few days before the 9.0 quake.
And that there had been yet another substantial quake in Indonesia last
month (Nov. 11th).  Since all three were along the edges of the
Australian-Indian plate, could these be connected in terms of the two
earlier quakes setting up stresses that finally triggered the 9.0 earthquake
off Sumatra?
      ----- Ken

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