Science News Share Blog Cite Print Bookmark Email
How Earthquakes Can Be Predicted: Researchers Reveal New Means
ScienceDaily (Dec. 1, 2010) — Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who have been examining what happens in a "model earthquake" in their laboratory have discovered that basic assumptions about friction that have been accepted for hundreds of years are just wrong. Their findings provide a new means for replicating how earth ruptures develop and possibly enabling prediction of coming severe earthquakes.
Earth & Climate
•Near-Earth Object Impacts
•Elastic-rebound theory of earthquakes
•North Anatolian Fault
"The findings have a wide variety of implications for materials science and engineering and could help researchers understand how earthquakes occur and how severely they may develop along a fault line," said Jay Fineberg, the Max Born Professor of Natural Philosophy at the Racah Institute of Physics at the Hebrew University.
The work by Fineberg, his graduate student Oded Ben-David and fellow researcher Gil Cohen, has been published in an article in Science.
For centuries, physicists have thought that the amount of force needed to push an object in order to make it slide across a surface is determined by a number called the coefficient of friction, which is the ratio between the forces pushing sideways and pushing down (basically, how much the object