[3] Causes of Earthquakes and Volcanism
© Lloyd

[3] Causes of Earthquakes and Volcanism
--- Deep Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Electrical Sputtering
--- Piezoelectricity and Earthquakes
--- Electrical Signature of Japan Quake --- Proton Storm Earthquake
--- Cause of Explosive Volcanoes

--- Deep EarthQuakes --- Volcanoes and Electrical Sputtering
Postby CharlesChandler» Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:24 am
- Lloyd wrote: Now how deep are those fizzies again?
- And what elements are they made of in the Earth?
- And are they molecular or atomic?
- What I mean is that this whole thing about compressive ionization, as applied to earthquakes and volcanoes, is a brand-new idea, so I don't have "answers", but only epiphanies. ;)
- It's interesting to note that while conventional wisdom has earthquakes caused by tectonic plate conflicts, which are just in the lithosphere (?), which is less than 200 km deep, Tassos is saying that earthquakes go as deep as 700 km. [Tassos, pg. 73]
- Searching for a cause at such a depth takes him out of the brittle crust, and into the plastic mantle.
- While I find his dismissal of elastic rebound in the crust to be convincing, I didn't get a good sense of how a catastrophic release of elastic force could come from the mantle.
- So I'm wondering where the compressive ionization threshold would occur.
- My earlier epiphany was that it was at the Moho layer, at a depth of 5~90 km below the surface.
- But the Moho is deeper under the continents than under the oceans.
- The compressive ionization threshold would occur higher under the greater mass of the continents.
- So something isn't right about that.
- Perhaps the Moho is just the transition between the solid, brittle crust and the hotter, more plastic substrate.
- Tassos says that earthquakes are the consequence of EM pressure in the micro-fractures.
- My interpretation is that these are superheated discharge channels, with currents motivated by a release of pressure below, which enables charge recombination.
- So the earthquake occurs above the ionization threshold.
- To take it the next step, we could envision an entire process that results is a complex combination of shock waves.
- Tidal uplift enables charge recombination at the depth of the compressive ionization threshold. (How deep is that?)
- This produces heat, and the pressure pushes up on the overlying rock from below, while tidal forces are pulling up from above.
- Fractures in the uplifted rock allow the passage of the electric current with much less resistance, which greatly increases the current density.
- The greater current increases the temperature in the discharge channels.
- With no outlet, the pressure in these channels can become incredible.
- Now the rock has a force trying to blow it apart, in addition to the uplift, from below and above.
- This would be the runaway reaction that produces an instantaneous increase in pressure, resulting in the initial quake.
- But the process is unstable.
- The increased pressure in that shock wave closes the discharge channels, cutting off the current, and re-ionizing the rock.
- Then the low-pressure trough of that wave re-opens the channels, and re-enables charge recombination.
- This sets up an oscillation that produces a series of waves.
- Tassos notes that lithospheric rock is bad at oscillating.
- Scientists attempted to create such oscillations by detonating a nuclear bomb underground. [Tassos, pg. 57]
- All they got was one shock front, but no wave train.
- Hence the rock doesn't have the elasticity for reverberations.
- To get this effect, we need to look for instabilities, where the process has positive and negative feedback loops that compete, with an unsteady power output.
- If the high-pressure side of the wave ionizes the rock, but closes the discharge channels, and if the low-pressure side enables charge recombination and the resultant release of heat, which causes pressure, this might constitute the right kind of competing forces that would oscillate.
- Volcanoes would be an even more complex process.
- Magma forcing itself up through the lithosphere will create little seismic events as the overlying rock gets fractured.
- This creates the possibility of electric currents.
- But until the lid is blown, the pressure in the magma chamber remains high, so the compressive ionization is maintained.
- Then the magma breaches the surface.
- Pressure is reduced, which enables charge recombination.
- Electric currents flow through the micro-fractures, heating and weakening the rock.
- Charge recombination in the magma chamber generates more heat, which increases the pressure.
- Now there's more pressure, and the rock is weaker, which could result in the catastrophic failure of the rock, and an explosive eruption.
- Then again, it might just create another minor eruption, setting the stage for the main event by further weakening the rock.
- Hence the capricious nature of tremors, quakes, and major/minor eruptions can only be evidence of some sort of complex process that sputters.
- It cannot possibly be simple hydrostatic pressure, which would build steadily, and then erupt only once.
- In either case, the telltale sign of an impending event would be a huge electric flux.
- Does anybody have stats on changes in electric fields just before earthquakes and/or volcanic eruptions?
- If all of this conjecture is correct, this might give people a minute or two to react.
- That's not enough time to evacuate the area, but it is enough time to get out of buildings that might collapse (if it's an earthquake) or get inside buildings so as to not get hit on the head by ejecta (if it's a volcano).
- All of this is pure conjecture. You guys know more about this than me. Is any of this making sense?

--- Piezoelectricity and Earthquakes
Postby CharlesChandler» Thu Nov 08, 2012 1:22 pm
- Can you do a formal write-up of that? I think you might be right.
- I can almost remember reading somewhere about somebody studying subterranean piezoelectricity, having to do with either earthquakes or volcanoes.
- I think the idea was that changes in pressure induced currents, and these could be measured at the surface.
- Anyway, if you want to pursue it, I'll post whatever you write on my site, and if you PM me with your real name, I'll give you the credit.

--- Electrical Signature Japan Quake
Postby CharlesChandler» Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:57 pm
- I'm still going through Tassos' references, but the "Micro Cracks Associated with the Great Tohoku Earthquake" paper is an excellent resource! We're not alone in this.
- I think we should pursue this line of reasoning, as we might be striking while the iron is quite hot, as they say.
- The magnitude of the devastation in Japan is the kind of thing that can cut through all kinds of political red tape, and loads of progress can be made in times like these.
- So it looks like there are many people, including professional scientists, who are not scared to consider electromagnetism as an important factor in geological processes.
- But it doesn't look like they have the conceptual framework for understanding why there are E-field changes associated with seismic events.
- This means that they're just guessing at how to interpret the data.
- If we're onto something here, we could help.

--- Proton Storm Quake
Postby CharlesChandler» Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:57 pm
- Maol wrote: This link http://umtof.umd.edu/pm/fig350.png is to a one-hour snip of data from the Proton Monitor on the SOHO satellite, centered on the time of the earthquake.
- Somebody should do the math to figure out exactly how far away SOHO was from the Earth, to see how long the proton storm would have taken to get to Earth.
- According to the Interplanetary Shocks page, it left the Sun at 2011-03-07 19:43 UTC, and hit SOHO 58 hours later, at 2011-03-10 05:45 UTC.
- The earthquake occurred at 2011-03-11 05:46 UTC, which was 24 hours later almost to the minute.
- So if somebody feels like calculating the speed, and finding out the SOHO-to-Earth distance, we could see what kind of correlation this actually is.
- Also, if it happened once, it should have happened again.
- So there might be other quakes that correlate, even though we don't have proton storm data going back that far.
- Maol wrote: Supercritical fluids are employed in industrial processes to dissolve and form crystalline materials by precipitation.
- Interesting possibilities are suggested when that is scaled up to the size of planets and stars.
- Yes, a supercritical fluid under fluctuating pressures would be an excellent crystal-building environment.
- I couldn't keep up with the "deep hydrocarbons" thread, but there could certainly be a lot of fancy things going on under our feet. :)

--- Explosive Volcanoes
Postby CharlesChandler» Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:45 pm
- BTW, the same mechanism (charge recombination after compressive ionization) might also help explain the explosive nature of certain types of volcanoes.
- Part of it has to do with gases trapped in the magma that can expand greatly when they get the chance.
- But another interesting thing about lava is that it's electrically charged.
- This is typically attributed to triboelectric charging in the magma vents, but what if it's also compressive ionization?
- When the caldera opens up, the pressure is relaxed.
- And then there's this huge secondary explosion.
- Perhaps the reduced pressure allowed charge recombination deeper in the magma chamber, and the secondary explosion was caused by all of the additional heat from the current flowing into the magma.
- If it was all just hydrostatic pressure from the gases trapped in the magma, there wouldn't be the erratic eruptions for which volcanoes are so famous.
- In other words, you could expect a sort of "mentos in the diet coke" effect as soon as the lid blows.
- But you wouldn't expect a little bit of an eruption, and then nothing for a day or two, and then a catastrophic eruption.
- This means to me that there is a secondary process, triggered by the primary eruption.
- Charge recombination deep in the magma chamber would certainly have these characteristics.

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