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    NASA Researching Mexicali Quake

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    Don in Hollister

    Posts : 137
    Join date : 2010-02-17
    Age : 83
    Location : Hollister, California

    NASA Researching Mexicali Quake

    Post  Don in Hollister on Fri 02 Jul 2010, 6:00 pm

    Hi All. Looks like NASA is using some of their equipment for research of the 7.2M Mexicali quake. On Thursday, NASA flew a specially equipped Gulfstream III jet over the quake zone, looking for signs of Earth rupture that could help experts understand how the various faults are connected.

    There are several key clues scientists were looking for during the nearly six-hour research flight, which covered such seismically active areas as the Salton Sea and U.S.-Mexico border as well as the San Diego coast. If data show slipping along the northern edges of the Mexican fault that triggered the 7.2 quake, that would suggest that pressure is being placed on faults in Southern California.

    Preliminary analysis shows that the 7.2 Mexicali earthquake in April placed more pressure on at least two Southern California fault lines: the Elsinore and the San Jacinto.

    The Elsinore fault runs through portions of San Diego County, including near Julian, as well as through Temecula and Lake Elsinore in Riverside County; the San Jacinto fault runs near cities such as Hemet, Loma Linda and San Bernardino.

    Scientists say earthquakes now are more likely on those two faults, but because so little is known about them, it's hard to calculate the risks.

    Experts say the larger question is whether the temblor made quakes more likely along more dangerous fault lines, such as the Whittier — which produced the deadly 1987 Whittier Narrows quake — and the San Andreas.

    Scientists are particularly interested in the Whittier fault because it's connected to the Elsinore and runs under heavily populated areas.

    The Elsinore fault is capable of large earthquakes, though none has been documented by researchers, said Andrea Donnellan, another JPL geophysicist.

    Neither the 7.2 temblor nor the many aftershocks have caused the Elsinore fault to rupture. But their proximity to the Mexican fault has officials concerned enough to launch the flights and perform additional research.

    "If a fault exists, it can produce a quake," Donnellan said. "It may be very infrequent, but the Elsinore fault is in a tectonically active area."

    Information gathered on Thursday's flight will supplement satellite images that experts have already reviewed showing how the Mexicali quake changed the landscape. In addition to assessing quake risk in Southern California, officials also hope they can better understand how faults interact.

    "This is a very young field, just a few decades old, really," Lyzenga said. "We're kind of flying blind a little bit as we try to find out exactly how these things play out."

    There has been an increase in quake activity on the Garlock fault as well as the White Wolf fault and the area where a new fault is being born. It's not known if the activity on these faults is related to the Mexicali quake.

    If either the San Jacinto or Elsinore faults fail they could cause the San Andreas to fail. The last quake on the San Andreas fault in that area was more then 300 years ago. The fault is capable of producing supershear and if that occurs the quake will be unlike any other quake seen in that area. Take Care...Don

    The photo shows damage done to a road during the Mexicali quake.

    More can be read at the links.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/07/72-earthquake-increased-quake-risk-on-2-california-faults.html

    http://www.sott.net/articles/show/190702

    http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2010-07/54706172.jpg

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