Quartz as Cause of Earthquakes?

Posted by GIS talk On Thursday, March 17, 2011
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From Reuters: Underground quartz deposits worldwide may be behind earthquakes, mountain building and other continental tectonics, a discovery that may aid in predicting tremblers, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The findings by Utah State University geophysicist Anthony Lowry and a colleague at the University of London, to be published Thursday in the journal Nature, may solve a riddle of the ages about the formation and location of earthquake faults, mountains, valleys and plains.

He and research partner Marta Perez-Gussinye examined temperature and gravity across the Western United States from a movable network of seismic instruments to describe the geological properties of the earth's crust.

The scientists discovered that quartz crystal deposits are found wherever mountains or fault lines occur in states like California, Idaho, Nevada and Utah.

The Utah State geoscientist said the breakthrough came after repeated testing revealed a correlation between quartz deposits and geologic events that was "completely eye-popping."

Using newly developed remote sensing technology known as Earthscope, Lowry and Perez-Gussinye found that quartz indicates a weakness in the earth's crust likely to spawn a geologic event such as an earthquake or a volcano.


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