Aeromagnetic data helps to assess earthquake potential

folarink arbuckle mountains

As any earth scientist knows, earthquakes are notoriously difficult to predict – and we’ve all witnessed the devastating effects of earthquakes in populated areas, especially where there was no prior knowledge of subsurface faults.

A research project by Folarin Kolawole, conducted as part of his Master’s degree program at Oklahoma State University, has made progress in advancing the ability to identify potential locations and intensities of earthquakes in a rift zone.

The project integrated temporal aeromagnetic data and recent earthquake data to address the longstanding question of the role preexisting Precambrian structures play in modulating strain accommodation and subsequent ruptures leading to seismic events within an active rift system.

Kolawole and his team used existing aeromagnetic data to elucidate the relationship between fault segments, pre-existing basement fabric and the locations of surface faulting related to the 2009 Mw 6.0 Karonga, Malawi, earthquake along the hinge zone of a segment of the Malawi Rift.

By applying derivative filters and depth-to-magnetic-source modelling, within Geosoft Oasis montaj, they identified and constrained the trend of the Precambrian metamorphic fabrics and correlated them to the three-dimensional structure of buried basement faults.

The study showed a cost-effective and efficient way of delineating causative faults associated with damaging seismic events, therefore helping earthquake mitigation efforts.

Read the full article on Earth Explorer.

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