Skip to main content
Email Print Share

Earthquakes to the core: Researchers drill down at the epicenter -- Science Nation


Earthquakes to the core: Researchers drill down at the epicenter

Understanding what happens at the epicenter of an earthquake--as the tectonic plates beneath the Earth shift and the Earth shakes--could help us better predict when and where the next big one will hit. For the past six years, scientists from a number of institutions have joined in a project called San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth, or SAFOD. They have drilled to the core of the San Andreas Fault, down to a specific area along the fault known to experience a number of small earthquakes every year. By retrieving and studying core rock samples from that site, geologists Chris Marone and Brett Carpenter and hydrogeologist Demian Saffer are getting a better understanding of the types of rocks involved in major quakes. They're putting core samples through rigorous tests at their lab at Penn State to determine the rocks' strengths and breaking points. The researchers say their project is just one piece of a complex puzzle--how to better predict when major earthquakes will occur.

Credit: National Science Foundation

Video Transcript:
Downloads, text version and related information

More Information:
This is an episode from Science Nation, NSF's online magazine that's all about science for the people.

 
General Restrictions:
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Videos credited to the National Science Foundation, an agency of the U.S. Government, may be distributed freely. However, some materials within the videos may be copyrighted. If you would like to use portions of NSF-produced programs in another product, please contact the Video Team in the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs at the National Science Foundation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.