Australian Team Probes Southern Ocean in Deep-Water Earthquake Research

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A mission is underway to obtain scientific data from the rough sea floor in the Southern Ocean, formerly known as the Antarctic Ocean, that could explain what triggers underwater earthquakes and tsunamis.

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Some of the world’s most violent underwater earthquakes have erupted beneath the hostile waters of the Southern Ocean, but researchers don’t know why. Sophisticated noise and motion sensors could help unlock the mystery of how tectonic plates – or fragments of the Earth’s crust – collide, a process known as subduction.

For the past year, an array of 27 seismometers located on the ocean floor has produced a giant telescope pointing to the center of the planet. Now the equipment is being removed.


Professor Horvoje Tkalsik, a lead scientist at the Australian National University’s Research School of Earth Sciences, hopes the study will help explain how and why earthquakes occur.

“We can’t predict exactly when they will happen, how big they will be. But we can better understand their physical mechanism and we can also better understand the structure of the Earth in that region, and how these earthquakes happen.” It is important to predict the propagation of seismic waves from the epicenter of the Earth to any other point on the Earth’s surface, including a possible generation of a tsunami,” Takalsik said.

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Scientists hope the study will give them a better understanding of how earthquakes and tsunamis can affect Australia and New Zealand, which lie within a seismically active region known as the “Pacific Ring of Fire”. goes.

The expedition is scouring some of the world’s steepest underwater mountain ranges to depths of more than 3.5 miles in the remote region known as Macquarie Ridge, halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica.

The researchers say the techniques could be applied to other oceans as well.

International Studies is a collaboration with various Australian institutions, the University of Cambridge and the California Institute of Technology.

The three-week tour began on 10 November in Wellington, New Zealand.

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