Sunday, June 14, 2009

Typhoons trigger slow earthquakes

By Victoria Gill, Science reporter, BBC News

"Typhoons can trigger imperceptible, slow earthquakes, researchers say."
Scientists report in the journal Nature that, in a seismically active zone in Taiwan, pressure changes caused by typhoons "unclamp" the fault. This gentle release causes an earthquake that dissipates its energy over several hours rather than a few potentially devastating seconds.
The researchers believe this could explain why there are relatively few large earthquakes in this region. Alan Linde from the Carnegie Institution for Science in the US and colleagues monitored movement of two colliding tectonic plates in eastern Taiwan.