Experts disagree about earthquake risk

Dec 15, 2005

Three independent analyses of the New Madrid seismic zone centered in Missouri indicates the fault line indicates little or no movement.

The study by three universities involved analyses of global positioning system stations monitored for a decade.

The results contradict a study by scientists at the University of Memphis that made headlines in June when it stated two GPS stations on opposite sides of the Reelfoot fault -- one of several in the New Madrid seismic area -- had moved closer to each other at a rate that rivaled faults in California, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

One critic of that study, geophysicist Eric Calais of Purdue University, said the results were likely a statistical anomaly possibly stemming from an instrumental error.

"It's not fair in a scientific paper to scare people with things like that," he said.

Michael Ellis, one of the University of Memphis authors, told the newspaper his group was only trying to show the motions are consistent with the level of seismic hazard that geologists have already established for New Madrid.

The debate among the groups appears in the current issue of the journal Nature.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Full lunar eclipse delights Americas, first of year

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Great earthquakes, water under pressure, high risk

Mar 28, 2014

The largest earthquakes occur where oceanic plates move beneath continents. Obviously, water trapped in the boundary between both plates has a dominant influence on the earthquake rupture process. Analyzing ...

Charting Icelandic glacier dynamics

Mar 14, 2014

Mark Simons, professor of geophysics at Caltech, along with graduate student Brent Minchew, recently logged over 40 hours of flight time mapping the surface of Iceland's glaciers. Flying over two comparatively ...

New study reveals insights on plate tectonics

Mar 04, 2014

(Phys.org) —The Earth's outer layer is made up of a series of moving, interacting plates whose motion at the surface generates earthquakes, creates volcanoes and builds mountains. Geoscientists have long ...

Recommended for you

ESO image: A study in scarlet

39 minutes ago

This new image from ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile reveals a cloud of hydrogen called Gum 41. In the middle of this little-known nebula, brilliant hot young stars are giving off energetic radiation that ...

Astronomers: 'Tilt-a-worlds' could harbor life

15 hours ago

A fluctuating tilt in a planet's orbit does not preclude the possibility of life, according to new research by astronomers at the University of Washington, Utah's Weber State University and NASA. In fact, ...

Vegetables on Mars within ten years?

21 hours ago

The soil on Mars may be suitable for cultivating food crops – this is the prognosis of a study by plant ecologist Wieger Wamelink of Wageningen UR. This would prove highly practical if we ever decide to ...

NASA Cassini images may reveal birth of a Saturn moon

22 hours ago

(Phys.org) —NASA's Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet's known ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

ESO image: A study in scarlet

This new image from ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile reveals a cloud of hydrogen called Gum 41. In the middle of this little-known nebula, brilliant hot young stars are giving off energetic radiation that ...

Astronomers: 'Tilt-a-worlds' could harbor life

A fluctuating tilt in a planet's orbit does not preclude the possibility of life, according to new research by astronomers at the University of Washington, Utah's Weber State University and NASA. In fact, ...

NASA Cassini images may reveal birth of a Saturn moon

(Phys.org) —NASA's Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet's known ...

First direct observations of excitons in motion achieved

A quasiparticle called an exciton—responsible for the transfer of energy within devices such as solar cells, LEDs, and semiconductor circuits—has been understood theoretically for decades. But exciton movement within ...

Warm US West, cold East: A 4,000-year pattern

Last winter's curvy jet stream pattern brought mild temperatures to western North America and harsh cold to the East. A University of Utah-led study shows that pattern became more pronounced 4,000 years ago, ...

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.