Magazine article Science News

Apple SOS: New York and the 'Big One'?

Magazine article Science News

Apple SOS: New York and the 'Big One'?

Article excerpt

Apple SOS: New York and the "big one'?

Worry over when the big earthquake will strike would appear to be part of the California lifestyle--not something found on a New Yorker's list of anxieties. But if measurements by a team of California scientists are correct, the New York City area may someday be the center of a destructive earthquake.

Localized strain in rocks near the earth's surface apparently is accumulating at rates comparable to those observed near the notoriously active San Andreas fault in California, according to a report in the Oct. 24 NATURE. "Such rates could probably not be sustained in the lower crust for more than several hundred years without a major earthquake occurring,' write coauthors Mark Zoback of Stanford University, William Prescott of the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif., and Scot Krueger of the University of California at Berkeley. But how movement on the earth's surface relates to deformation deeper in the crust, where earthquakes originate, is uncertain.

Their conclusions are based on analyses of National Geodetic Survey (NGS) records from 1872 to 1973 for northeastern New Jersey and southeastern New York, where they found slight movement of surface survey markers in western Long Island and along a 60-kilometer stretch of the Hudson River's eastern shore. Amid the continuing controversy that clouds earthquake prediction, the study raises some new points for geophsicists to ponder.

Geological differences between New York and California make interpretation of the data all the more interesting. …

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