Geolympics 4: surface faulting

Geolympics 4: surface faulting

23/07/2019 Perigeo 1
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Surface faulting is the rupture of the Earth’s surface caused by an earthquake. It occurs along the surface projection of faults and can involve different rocks and materials (loose soils, roads…).

Figure 1: Lateral displacement caused by the July 5th, 2019 Ridgecrest earthquake. Photo by Ken Hudnut, high-res image available here.

Surface faulting forms actual scarps on the topographic surface and (on geological timescales) is how mountain grow… here’s some example – and comparison with Tokyo 2020 Games pictograms!

Figure 2: surface faulting after Mt. Etna (Sicily) earthquake on 26th December 2018. The table tennis net is 15.25 cm high.
Figure 3: surface faulting after the 2016 Central Italy earthquake. The tennis net is supported at a height of 1.07 m and the badminton net is 1.55 m high.
Figure 4: surface faulting after the 2016 Kaikoura (New Zealand) earthquake. The volleyball net is 2.24 to 2.43 m high (for women and men, respectively), the basketball hoop is at 3.05 m height. Image available here.
Figure 5: surface faulting after the 1999 Chi Chi (Taiwan) earthquake. The world record in the men’s pole vault is holded by Renard Lavillenie, who in 2014 broken Sergey Bubka’s 21-years old record, with a 6,16 m leap. Sorry, that’s not a pictogram specific for pole vault! Image available here.
Figure 6: Surface displacement scale with earthquake dimension. The graph shows the regression of maximum displacement on magnitude (from Wells & Coppersmith, 1994): for events with magnitude above 7.5, displacements of 10 m can be reached!

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