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The physics of earthquakes

Kanamori, Hiroo and Brodsky, Emily E. (2004) The physics of earthquakes. Reports on Progress in Physics, 67 (8). pp. 1429-1496. ISSN 0034-4885.

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Earthquakes occur as a result of global plate motion. However, this simple picture is far from complete. Some plate boundaries glide past each other smoothly, while others are punctuated by catastrophic failures. Some earthquakes stop after only a few hundred metres while others continue rupturing for a thousand kilometres. Earthquakes are sometimes triggered by other large earthquakes thousands of kilometres away. We address these questions by dissecting the observable phenomena and separating out the quantifiable features for comparison across events. We begin with a discussion of stress in the crust followed by an overview of earthquake phenomenology, focusing on the parameters that are readily measured by current seismic techniques. We briefly discuss how these parameters are related to the amplitude and frequencies of the elastic waves measured by seismometers as well as direct geodetic measurements of the Earth's deformation. We then review the major processes thought to be active during the rupture and discuss their relation to the observable parameters. We then take a longer range view by discussing how earthquakes interact as a complex system. Finally, we combine subjects to approach the key issue of earthquake initiation. This concluding discussion will require using the processes introduced in the study of rupture as well as some novel mechanisms. As our observational database improves, our computational ability accelerates and our laboratories become more refined, the next few decades promise to bring more insights on earthquakes and perhaps some answers.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Kanamori, Hiroo0000-0001-8219-9428
Brodsky, Emily E.0000-0002-6855-6860
Additional Information:© Institute of Physics and IOP Publishing Limited 2004. Received 21 January 2004, in final form 20 April 2004. Published 12 July 2004. Print publication: Issue 8 (August 2004) We thank Allan Rubin and an anonymous reviewer for constructive comments.
Issue or Number:8
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:KANrpp04
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Official Citation:The physics of earthquakes Hiroo Kanamori and Emily E Brodsky 2004 Rep. Prog. Phys. 67 1429-1496 doi: 10.1088/0034-4885/67/8/R03
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:6698
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:18 Dec 2006
Last Modified:12 Dec 2019 17:06

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