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21 avril 2007 6 21 /04 /avril /2007 23:58
    I suppose we all thought about it, maybe not as an answer but at least as a question. How could we predict earthquakes? How? Well, I thought about it too, this is my answer. It’s all highly-educated-almost-science, I mailed it to a guy who has a webpage about earthquake prediction, he said that the reasoning seemed sound, but that it would be difficult to implement. I agree with him, it would be difficult, but not impossible. It’s not something meant for the most general public, but sooner or later they’ll have to find out. So, here it is, that letter about earthquake prediction, you’ll notice that it’s written as if were addressing someone, well, it was a letter, so I was. Only the last paragraphs of it are cut off. Everything else is as it was:
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    In order for any material to be used for a given purpose, be it glass to be used as bulletproof panels on banks or ¼ inch steel to be used in the frame of an airplane (if we still use steel in airplanes), we test those materials to their breaking point, so that we know how much pressure they can take. This is known, and is done continuously in every single institute where materials are tested. Ok, so we know how much strain or pressure a material can take thanks to the fact that we also know the nature of the material and its resistance. Sometimes they hold on a little more than expected, sometimes a little less. We also know that shapes may provide a material greater or lesser resistance. We know all that, the question is: could we predict when the material is going to break?
    We know the material is going to break after it is subjected to, let’s say, a pressure of 2 Kilograms per square inch, or 2,8 and so, and so. We can do that because we know the material, and, probably, we have tested it before, but... I think that we could predict when the material is going to break just by its vibration (in nature most phenomena repeats itself over and over, the doppler effect if one of those examples, it’s just everywhere, in light and sound. Grab a string of wool, stretch until it breaks, do it a number of times and you’ll begin to grasp the feeling of when it’s going to break. A scientifical analysis of that same phenomena would provide, of course, more accurate information to the same effect). Can we do that? Have testing material facilities bothered to study the vibrating behavior of the materials that they break? As far as I know, they have, and they’ve got loads and loads of data on how steel, glass, dozens of alloys and plastics, behave from the moment they start pumping pressure on them to their breaking point. By analyzing that information we should be able to come up with a breaking point pattern of behavior (do the wool experiment with all sorts of strings, and although they’ll have very different levels of resistance, they’ll behave pretty similarly when you begin to stretch them. Yes, shape matters also, but then a new pattern of shape would emerge for every shape). So, could we predict when is the material going to break? I think so, yes, but I would like to know for sure, that’s why I transmit my question to you, and you are supposed to ask them (those guys that test materials).  
    Now the big question comes: Would the behavior of earth’s tectonic plates be any different? Could we predict their breaking point? Which is one way of saying: could we predict earthquakes? (for an earthquake is the breaking of an edge that interfered with the displacement of the tectonic plate on a given direction. Isn’t it?)  
    I’ve got a definition here that you’re probably familiar with: Earthquake it says “The sudden movement of rocks along a deep seated fault plane which sets off seismic waves generated by the abrupt release of potential energy inside the Earth”. Why is the movement sudden? Did something break? What is an earthquake, anyhow? I mean, you can feel it all over the world, but it’s a point, an identifiable dot on the earth’s crust, where the earthquake happened, something had to break there to unleash suddenly all that energy. What I’m trying to say is that I’m assuming, maybe wrongly, that an earthquake is something breaking because of the pressure exerted upon ‘something’ as the earth’s crust moves by underworld currents within the mantle, that is itself affected by the currents of the outer and inner core (if it’s liquid, I don’t buy it still). So, this thing, something, was, like a wedge, interrupting the flow of the plate, until it broke and caused an earthquake.
    And that’s the whole idea... we could predict earthquakes by knowing and understanding their breaking point vibrating behavior. Maybe everyone’s thought about this idea, and the problem comes from the many things that we should, must know in order to find out the breaking point vibrating behavior of large areas of crust, I’m aware of only a hint of them, but I must confess that I haven’t seen this idea expressed elsewhere, maybe because it’s a silly idea that no one in the field would make the mistake of thinking, maybe... I don’t know, that’s why I had to write to you.
    You see, we detect, I know, more than a thousand (I think the number was ten thousand) microearthquakes in the rift valley of East Africa, it’s moving a few centimeters away every year. Doesn’t it show a particular pattern? I don’t know, flowy, no breaking point in sight, no interruption of the flowing plate? The magnitude of those microearthquakes and their frequency are the basic form, a pattern, a lively changing picture of what’s going on underground, is is of any use? That picture of frequencies and magnitudes. I, for one, believe that they should be.
    I know that we know the direction of every plate, and the strains within or around them, transform faults, subduction zone, collision, etc. So we can map the direction of the underground currents within the mantle. We won’t be able to predict the intensity of a particular, say, November flow, but the way it’s going is predictable.
    It’s true that it all comes down to materials and shapes, like what is that ‘continental wedge’ made of? How is it shaped so as to interrupt the continental flow, we could probably learn the shapes by the signatures of seismic waves (like those underground pictures we get by setting up explosion to ‘listen’ what’s underneath). Could we learn the material that it’s made of too? Maybe, and if we can’t we could find other way to find out.  
        Finally, did I make myself clear? You know better than I do all the variables involved, but I don’t think there’s a magic wand when it comes to earthquake prediction, basically, what I’m telling you is that we should listen for a pattern, a blow-the-whistle signature of the breaking point within the thousands of microearthquakes felt all over the world every single day, and even if they won’t tell the whole story (like when is a surge coming on the mantle current, and the moon is probably involved as well), they could tell us more.  
    I’ve got the idea picture clear inside my head (I’m not saying it’s not a picture clear image of the wrong idea), so if there are any questions, well, go ahead and ask. I’m a consumated neurotic that wonders all the time on a given number of subjects (you would like to know that I’ve made hundreds of wrong assumptions, corrected them and came up with several correct ones... really, really).
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            That’s all. Now go and spread the word. (well, this article is here because I was looking over my papers, and I decided to post it. I doesn't really belong here, so, sooner or later, I'm going to delete it. Get the idea and tell your friends. Tell everyone. All graphics belong to their respective owners. This blog is entirely non commercial.)

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