Thursday, June 18, 2009

Creep Cavitation Fuels Subduction Earthquakes


I don't really have a clue about this, but it sounds interesting. When an ocean plate gets cold and tired, it plunges back down into the earth at a subduction zone. This plate is totally soggy! When it gets down to 15 km or so, the water gets squeezed and heated out. This drives the big earthquakes, and also the volcanoes. But how can water move at these pressures where all the pores must be closed? According to this, there is a mechanism where the pores suddenly burst out into the next one, and so on. I don't know how they work in the word 'cavitation', but I suppose the old pore collapses suddenly, and there is a nano-boom. It can't completely heal because it has to accept the water from the next pore.

Anyway, some mechanism like this has to exist, or my earthquake studies would be very boring indeed.

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