Scientists drill quake hole two miles deep

Apr 19, 2006

Geologists are drilling miles into the Earth to prepare for an earthquake such as the 7.9 magnitude quake that struck San Francisco April 18, 1906.

The project is called the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth, or SAFOD, and it's designed to learn more about California's San Andreas Fault, National Geographic News reported Tuesday.

The scientists last year drilled a 7-inch-wide borehole sideways through the fault zone at a depth of about 2 miles near Parkfield, Calif.

William Ellsworth, U.S. Geological Survey seismologist, told NGN the goal is to have SAFOD's instruments in a section of the fault that breaks.

"That's why we go into the ground -- to be inside the earthquake machine where the action starts," Ellsworth said, noting the ambient temperature at two miles beneath the ground is about 257 degrees Fahrenheit.

The final instruments will be placed into the borehole next year and then scientists will be able to measure even small, slippage and changes in water pressure in the fault-zone rocks.

Even if it's not determined whether earthquakes are predictable, Zoback told NGN the team expects to east least learn much about how earthquakes occur.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researcher studies deformation of tectonic plates

Nov 25, 2014

Sean Bemis put his hands together side by side to demonstrate two plates of the earth's crust with a smooth boundary running between them. But that boundary is not always smooth and those plates do not always ...

Advancing the state-of-the-art in seismic science

Sep 30, 2014

Data received from seismic monitoring stations coupled with information rapidly shared via smartphones and the Internet by those who experienced the south Napa temblor is serving to advance scientists' understanding ...

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

Dec 19, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.