WHAT IF we could determine: the optimal method and mechanics for a controlled release of volcanic exudate, including the required optimal location(s), optimal volume(s), etc, for that release ???
IF we can work that out, the key question is:
Can a complex system or array of accoustic (sound) waves be mechanically created and effectively imposed upon tectonic structures,
EG: so as to create vibrations that precisely initiate, guide, and structure the breakup of the "sutures" (critical connecting areas of the fault lines) of the Tectonic plates'
-- in just the right amount, in just the right places, so as to pre-emptively and safely release geologic pressures, volcanic and otherwise, that would otherwise be most likely to cause destructive earthquakes,
-- thus allowing a much more smooth (less violent) release of disruptive energy ???
And perhaps I should add to all that, "BEFORE global warming climate changes complicate existing circumstances."
The apparent official perspective on that (?) goes like or is covered by this:
"Seismologists have observed that for every magnitude 6 earthquake there are 10 of magnitude 5, 100 of magnitude 4, 1,000 of magnitude 3, and so forth as the events get smaller and smaller. This sounds like a lot of small earthquakes, but there are never enough small ones to eliminate the occasional large event. It would take 32 magnitude 5's, 1000 magnitude 4's, 32,000 magnitude 3's to equal the energy of one magnitude 6 event. So, even though we always record many more small events than large ones, there are never enough to eliminate the need for the occasional large earthquake. As for "lubricating" faults with water or some other substance, injecting high pressure fluids deep into the ground is known to be able to trigger earthquakes to occur sooner than would have been the case without the injection. However this would be a dangerous pursuit in any populated area, as one might trigger a damaging earthquake." [ This comes from the USGS FAQ response to the Question, "Can you prevent large earthquakes by making lots of small ones, or by "lubricating" the fault with water or another material?" ]
I can agree with that and appreciate the safety margin it implies, so far as goes the *symptomatic treatment* paradigm that it comes from and therefore addresses.
HOWEVER, please note that in the above, I included the words "precisely... in just the right places, so as to..." which of course requires considerable research & development of the technology and application process, and not just imitating natural tectonic dynamics or forcing water into a hole. EG: The approach as proposed at this page is about dealing precisely with, or at least most proximal to, the actual cause(s) of the particular dynamics, not just the symptoms. [7/8+/10]
Some excerpts, references, and links are below. This is from some brief research via Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (8/4/08), which did bring up some related studies, particularly, "Effects of acoustic waves on stick–slip in granular media and implications for earthquakes."
What I have not found yet is research on acoustic waves purposely directed to actual interfaces of Tectonic plates, let alone to those under water.
I hope to find out if, or to what degree, this area of research has been or might be considered. I'm guessing that if deemed feasible for consideration, then we're talking about a fairly long term project. But for all I know, the technical capabilities are more or less available, and they just need to be brought to bear on the challenge. If that is the case, then with enough study, possibly before "the big one," some methodologies and technologies might be developed to forestall it. Even if not soon enough for here and now, there would be plenty of opportunities for success -all around the planet- in the future.
I admit, I'm just dropping seeds here, and where applicable, I appreciate your tolerating my layperson's word usage. I'm hoping some engineers and scientists have a beer or two as they kick these ideas around. And just MAYBE, in a hundred years, we'll be using volcanic energy to brew that beer. But that's not the point, of course. [~cp, Aug'08]
Also, What if sound -- listening to the earth with capable management of appropriately designed and placed instruments, while further developing all of same -- can also be used to detect and to map the geological structure "in 3D" at sufficient depths, to thus assess conditions well enough to accurately predict earthquakes (and much more). This thought comes to mind after listening to an interview on KUOW radio about the amazing degree to which we do not know how to assess let alone predict seismic tremors. You may or may not relate, let alone understand, but I simply know in my heart and mind that [the technology of] sound will provide the keys to our understanding the communications of Mother Earth [~cp, 5/13/17]. [Tag: earthquake preparation]
-Chris Pringer - Author/Bio/Site Info Below
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Some Related Research (Aug'08)
While this research was focused on "seismicity, remotely triggered earthquakes" or "dynamic aftershock triggering" - those triggered by the tremors of other/distant earthquakes or tremors - "static, dynamic, and postseismic stress transfer." It is also about, or draws on studies in, "stick–slip friction in sheared granular layers," "Influence on grain characteristics on the friction of granular shear zones," and "spatial distribution of remote aftershocks." Again, What I did not find was research on acoustic waves purposely directed to actual interfaces of Tectonic plates, let alone to those under water.
The below is excerpted from
"Effects of acoustic waves on stick–slip in granular media and implications for earthquakes" -- Paul A. Johnson, Heather Savage[2,3], Matt Knuth[2,4], Joan Gomberg & Chris Marone link to the PDF from Nature.Com
[I excerpted what seemed to be the more pertinent parts of this document as related to mechanically creating vibration upon tectonic structures so as to pre-emptively and safely release pressures that would otherwise be most likely cause destructive earthquakes (as per the above, "A Pre-Emptive Volcanic Exudate Release Theory"):
"... To understand the physics of dynamic triggering better, as well as the influence of dynamic stressing on earthquake recurrence, we have conducted laboratory studies of stick–slip in granular media with and without applied acoustic vibration. Glass beads were used to simulate granular fault zone material, sheared under constant normal stress, and subject to transient or continuous perturbation by acoustic waves. ..."
"... Vibration perturbs the recurrence period of inelastic stress increase before the failure of major events and induces small-amplitude stick– slip events. In many cases one or more small stick–slip events occur during vibration, as well as cascades of delayed, small-amplitude stick–slip events (Fig. 3a, grey shading). In all cases, application of acoustic waves—even for brief intervals—has a lasting effect, such that successive major stick–slip events exhibit a strain memory of applied vibration manifest by delayed failure, disruption of recurrence interval and extended aseismic creep, despite the violent mechanical re-set that occurs during major stick–slip events (Fig. 3). We find that post-vibration, the regular recurrence does not recover.
"We also apply acoustic pulses, rather than the longer-duration waves described above. Pulses are more analogous to a single seismic wave in Earth, whereas vibration may be more analogous to the nearsource region where quasi-continuous-wave energy may exist for significant periods of time in the form of aftershocks. Our data show that continuous and pulse modes of dynamic triggering yield similar behaviour. ..."
"... We posit that acoustic waves disrupt granular force chains, leading to material softening and simultaneous weakening (granular flow), similar to what is described in a recently proposed phenomenological model . The manifestation of the acoustic disruption may take place immediately or later in time (strain ‘memory'). The vibration induced memory itself may be maintained as frictional instability at a number of grain contacts that persist through one or more stick–slip cycles, and is reminiscent of dynamically induced strain memory, known as ‘slow dynamics', observed in nonlinear dynamical experiments on glass bead packs . The memory is also suggestive of statically induced rate-dependent effects observed in sheared granular materials, such as ‘ageing' [7,20]. We attempted to erase vibration-induced memory by ceasing shear loading to allow the material to heal, as well as by changing normal stress to repack the grains, but neither approach succeeded.
"Our previous work shows that permanent damage to the grains themselves is negligible and therefore cannot be the origin of the behaviours observed. Moreover, acoustical studies in three dimensional glass bead packs under similar wave strain amplitudes, and under (smaller) static stresses of 0.02–0.1 MPa, show no evidence for grain rearrangement; however, the material exhibits very small, irreversible compaction as well as nonlinear-induced modulus softening and slow dynamics. Hertz–Mindlin contact mechanics describe these observations. The compaction we measure in our experiments without vibration is small and does not lead to instability. The addition of vibration shows additional compaction but it is extremely small. Taken together, the observations suggest that minute compaction plays a part in what we observe, but there is no clear evidence suggesting that it is the cause. Our data do not rule out the possibility that instability is abetted, or initiated, by localized compaction (for example, within a shear band in the layer22), which would be invisible to our measurements. Local compaction within a granular material would reduce normal stress at contact junctions, which could lead to stick–slip instability. For the moment, the origin of what we observe when stick–slip is combined with vibration remains unknown.
"The origin of dynamic earthquake triggering by transient seismic waves is a complex problem. Our results show that granular-friction processes are consistent with two as-yet-unexplained observations in earthquake seismology: (1) small-amplitude waves can trigger both immediate failure and delayed failure relative to the strain transient, and (2) earthquake recurrence patterns are complex. ..."
"Full Methods and any associated references are available in the online version of the paper at www.nature.com/nature."
[end main excerpts]
Selected References from "Effects of acoustic waves on stick–slip in granular media and implications for earthquakes" [excerpted from same document with enumeration kept]:
1. Hill, D. P. et al. Seismicity remotely triggered by the magnitude 7.3 Landers, California, earthquake. Science 260, 1617–1623 (1993).
2 . Gomberg, J., Bodin, P., Larson, K. & Dragert, H. Earthquake nucleation by transient deformations caused by the M57.9 Denali, Alaska earthquake. Nature 427, 621–624 (2004).
3. Brodsky, E., Karakostas, V. & Kanamori, H. A. New observation of dynamically triggered regional seismicity: Earthquakes in Greece following the August, 1999, Ismit, Turkey earthquake. Geophys. Res. Lett. 27, 2741–2744 (2000).
4. Hough, S. E. Triggered earthquakes and the 1811–1812 New Madrid, Central United States earthquake sequence. Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am. 91, 1574–1581 (2001).
5. Gomberg, J., Bodin, P. & Reasenberg, P. A. Observing earthquakes triggered in the near field by dynamic deformations. Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am 93, 118–138 (2003).
7. Marone, C. Laboratory-derived friction laws and their application to seismic faulting. Ann. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 26, 643–696 (1998).
13. Freed, A. M. Earthquake triggering by static, dynamic, and postseismic stress transfer. Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 33, 335–367 (2005).
19. Johnson, P. A. & Jia, X. Nonlinear dynamics, granular media and dynamic earthquake triggering. Nature 473, 871–874 (2005).
20. Hartley, R. R. & Behringer, R. P. Logarithmic rate dependence of force networks in sheared granular materials. Nature 421, 928–931 (2003).