Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth

Cover image for Vol. 120 Issue 10

Impact Factor: 3.426

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2014: 19/175 (Geosciences Multidisciplinary)

Online ISSN: 2169-9356

Associated Title(s): Journal of Geophysical Research

Editors' Highlights

Tapti Fault in central India: A serious seismic hazard (15 August 2014)
Regions where the continental lithosphere is slowly deforming may be perceived as stable because they are far away from active plate boundaries, but these regions can and do experience large earthquakes... [more]

Measuring small-scale changes along a fault as plates slip (2 July 2014)
Earthquakes are massive events, ruptures of the Earth's surface that send seismic waves coursing throughout the planet. Yet the stresses that build up in advance of an earthquake are concentrated in comparatively tiny regions—rough surfaces of abutting plates that are often no more than a few dozen centimeters across... [more]

What happens to minerals as they get squeezed in the mantle? (24 June 2014)
The motion of the Earth’s mantle is controlled in part by how mantle minerals respond to changes in temperature and pressure. The chemical and physical shifts that minerals undergo as they are heated and squeezed cause some to sink down toward the core and others to rise up toward the surface... [more]

New model better estimates mantle melt percentage (2 May 2014)
Studying structures on Earth that arise because of mantle melt—hot spots, mid-ocean ridges, continental rifts—helps scientists understand the evolution and dynamics of the planet... [more]

Building a better model of mantle structure (2 April 2014)
Using observations of seismic energy that has passed through the mantle, researchers can measure the relative velocities of seismic waves within different vertical regions of the Earth... [more]

Pyroxenes can be used to estimate upper mantle water content (28 March 2014)
The ocean of water locked in the rocks of Earth’s mantle can influence geological processes such as melting and mineral deformation. Traditionally, researchers have used the mineral olivine to study the water in Earth’s upper mantle... [more]

How a change in slope affects lava flows (27 March 2014)
As soon as lava flows from a volcano, exposure to air and wind causes it to start to cool and harden. Rather than hardening evenly, the energy exchange tends to take place primarily at the surface. The cooling causes a crust to form on the outer edges of the lava flow, insulating the molten lava within... [more]

A new earthquake model may explain discrepancies in San Andreas fault slip (27 March 2014)
Investigating the earthquake hazards of the San Andreas Fault System requires an accurate understanding of accumulating stresses and the history of past earthquakes... [more]

Ice-melt rates during explosive subglacial eruptions (24 March 2014)
Volcanic eruptions occurring under glaciers melt cavities in the overlying ice, and this meltwater may drain out in a large, sudden flood known as a jökulhlaup. Observations show that ice melts rapidly in liquid-filled subglacial cavities when these eruptions... [more]

Using lacustrine turbidites to illuminate past earthquakes (21 March 2014)
To fully understand earthquake occurrence patterns, especially at underwater subduction zones, scientists often look to the past... [more]

Yellowstone geyser eruptions influenced more by internal processes, than by external forcing (5 March 2014)
The intervals between geyser eruptions depend on a delicate balance of underground factors, such as heat and water supply, as well as on their interactions with surrounding geysers. Some geysers are highly predictable, their intervals between eruptions... [more]

Tracking the source of random, weak earthquakes within a hydrothermal vent (24 February 2014)
The Trans-Atlantic Geotraverse (TAG) is the largest deep sea hydrothermal vent field found anywhere on the planet. Located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge... [more]

Data from Tohoku earthquake offer new insights (19 February 2014)
The subduction zone megathrust earthquake that struck offshore of Tohoku, Japan, in 2011 was so strong that it shifted the tilt of the Earth’s axis and moved the island of Japan itself four meters. This earthquake puzzles scientists in part because the... [more]

Upper plate structure controls rupture front propagation (7 February 2014)
Over the past century, the boundary between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates has been the center of a series of powerful, tsunamogenic, and deadly earthquakes, including one in 1906 that is believed to have had a magnitude of 8.8... [more]

East Texas’s biggest earthquake may have been induced (29 January 2014)
Aside from a few small events, east Texas has been largely devoid of earthquakes. However, operations began in 2006 to pump waste water from oil and gas production into wells around the region, with some sites injecting just shy of 43,000 cubic meters... [more]

Mapping the magma conduit for the Shinmoe-dake volcano (23 January 2014)
Near the southern end of Kyushu, the most southerly of Japan’s major islands, a complex of more than 20 small volcanoes together form the Kirishima volcanoes. In January 2011, around 20 million cubic meters of material spewed from one of the volcanoes... [more]

Acoustic emissions unveil internal motion in granular materials (20 December 2013)
When confronted with a heavy load or deformed by stress, the individual particles in a granular material will sometimes reorganize to a more stable arrangement. At small scales these reorganizations are little more than the redistribution of grains in the pile... [more]

Systematic shifts in subducting slab behavior with depth (22 November 2013)
When tectonic plates collide, the less buoyant plate will, in some cases, be forced beneath the other. At such subduction zones the sinking tectonic plate, known as a slab, does not follow a simple path from the surface to the deeper mantle. Instead, new research... [more]

Detection of supershear rupture in 2013 Craig, Alaska, earthquake (22 November 2013)
Seismic ruptures are akin to unzipping a zipper—a gap in the crust starts in one location and travels along the fault in a particular direction. When a strained fault ruptures in an earthquake, seismic waves also spread out from the epicenter. In some cases, the waves’... [more]

Detecting previously unknown aftershocks of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake (29 October 2013)
Aftershocks of major earthquakes are usually detected by local seismic monitors, but they can also be detected by more distant seismic arrays. Kiser and Ishii used a technique known as back projection to analyze data from North American seismic stations... [more]

Disposal of Marcellus Shale fracking waste caused earthquakes in Ohio (19 July 2013)
Before January 2011, Youngstown, Ohio, had never had an earthquake since observations began in 1776. In December 2010, the Northstar 1 injection well came online, a well built to pump wastewater produced by hydraulic fracturing projects in Pennsylvania... [more]

Water and sediment supply affect basin-filling sedimentation patterns (24 June 2013)
The spatial and temporal variability of sedimentation can affect models that scientists use to interpret the stratigraphic record. To better understand the influence of sedimentation variability, Straub and Wang quantify basin-filling trends in three experiments... [more]

Characterizing the dynamics of geyser eruptions (19 June 2013)
Some geysers have predictable eruptions that make them ideal for study. Understanding geyser eruption dynamics can provide insight into other intermittent natural processes, such as volcanic eruptions, but most studies of geysers have focused on the processes... [more]

The mixed mechanisms of large-earthquake nucleation (17 June 2013)
An important open question in seismology is: Where do big earthquakes come from? High-energy earthquakes often come from faults under high strain, but the mechanism that underlies their onset is still debated... [more]

Identifying slow slip events with GNSS (13 June 2013)
Slow slip events (SSEs), in which tectonic plate interfaces slip slowly and generate seismic rumbling, have been observed in many subduction zones around the world. These events can provide insight into the accumulation and release of seismic stress... [more]

Measuring tidal displacement using GPS (30 May 2013)
GPS is making possible high-precision, high-resolution measurements of tidal displacement that could not be achieved with other methods. Earth’s surface deforms due to both body tides—the deformation of the solid Earth due to the pull of the Sun and the Moon... [more]

Graphite lubricates fault zones (24 May 2013)
Graphite is known to be a low-friction material, and rocks rich in graphite are often found in fault zones. Oohashi et al. conducted laboratory studies to determine how much graphite is needed to reduce the frictional strength of a fault. Their experiments... [more]

Seismic studies provide new detail on transition zone below western United States (24 May 2013)
At certain depths in Earth’s mantle, the increasing pressure causes minerals to undergo phase changes, transforming to different crystal structures. Seismic waves change speed at these discontinuities, so analyzing seismic waves gives scientists information about... [more]

Extreme-Pressure Research Explores How Earth's Mantle Solidified (12 October 2012)
During the earliest stages of the Earth's formation, the planet's mantle may have taken the form of a giant magma ocean, being fully or partially molten all the way down to the core-mantle boundary. Though today mantle material is predominantly solid, some sci... [more]

New technique for surface exposure dating (12 September 2012)

A new technique that allows researchers to determine the amount of time a rock sample has been exposed to daylight could find many applications in geology and archaeology. The new method, pioneered by Sohbati et al. (2012), is based on optically stimu... [more]

Earthquake in Chile triggers tremors and slips in Mexico (11 September 2012)

Recently, scientists have observed that large earthquakes often trigger tremors in places far away, sometimes thousands of kilometers, from the epicenter. In a new study, researchers have now shown that a major earthquake in Chile could have also triggered &qu... [more]

Model suggests Earth is undergoing true polar wander (11 September 2012)

At various points throughout Earth's history, the planet's solid exterior has drifted about in relation to the planetary rotation axis. This solid body drift, which is known as "true polar wander," results in a wholesale shift in the orientation of E... [more]

New images of complex structures underneath the Tibetan Plateau (18 May 2012)

The Tibetan Plateau contains some of the highest mountains in the world and was formed by the collision between the Indian and Eurasian plates beginning around 55 million years ago. Curious about how such elevated terrains form, Yue et al. (2012) used d... [more]

Abyssal plains heat exchange could explain global deficit (17 May 2012)

When researchers measure the amount of heat flowing conductively from the seafloor to the ocean waters and then compare that value against a theoretical prediction of that heat loss, they observe that the global average measured heat flow is lower than expecte... [more]

How earthquake properties vary with depth (21 April 2012)

A new study shows systematically how seismic properties vary with depth. Lay et al. (2012) analyzed recent large and great earthquakes, including the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman (Mw 9.2), 2010 Chile (Mw 8.8), and 2011 Toho... [more]

Active faults newly identified in Pacific Northwest (30 March 2012)

The Bellingham Basin, which lies north of Seattle and south of Vancouver around the border between the United States and Canada in the northern part of the Cascadia subduction zone, is important for understanding the regional tectonic setting and current high ... [more]

Laboratory analysis updates fault slip formula (29 February 2012)

The rate at which one rock slab slides past another, such as could be found in a fault or fracture, depends on the strengths of the applied forces and the friction between the blocks. Though simple in concept, accurately modeling the interactions—especia... [more]

Model describes New Zealand's complex tectonic environment (22 February 2012)

At the Hikurangi fault, off the eastern coast of New Zealand's North Island, the Pacific tectonic plate sinks beneath the Australian plate. Farther south, in the Marlborough Fault System, which cuts through the country's larger South Island, the interaction be... [more]

In Japan, seismic waves slower after rain, large earthquakes (20 January 2012)

An earthquake is first detected by the abrupt side-to-side jolt of a passing primary wave. Lagging only slightly behind are shear waves, which radiate out from the earthquake's epicenter and are seen at the surface as a rolling wave of vertical motion. Also kn... [more]

Revealing the structure of a terrane in southern Alaska (19 January 2012)

In southern Alaska, multiple terranes—slabs that have broken off from larger tectonic plates and shuffled around—create a complex patchwork that makes it challenging for scientists to untangle the tectonic history and structure of the region. One o... [more]

Fine aspherical ash source of Eyjafjallajökull volcano's influence (4 January 2012)

The 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano was not a large event. Over months of volcanic activity the ash plume never pushed above 10 km, and the mass flows peaked at 1 million kg s-1, feeble amounts compared to some other volcanic eruption... [more]

Geological evidence for past earthquakes in Tokyo region (30 December 2011)

In 1923 a magnitude 7.9 earthquake devastated the Tokyo area, resulting in more than 100,000 deaths. About 200 years earlier, in 1703 a magnitude 8.2 earthquake struck the same region, causing more than 10,000 deaths. These earthquakes, which occurred just sou... [more]

Seismic quiescence before the 2003 Tokachi-oki earthquake (15 October 2011)

Some studies have found evidence of seismic quiescence, periods with fewer small earthquakes than normal, before the occurrence of some large earthquakes. In a new case study, Katsumata (2011) reexamined data from an earthquake catalog to study seismic ... [more]

Carbon in Earth's core (1 April 2011)

The Earth's dense core consists primarily of iron, but seismological data and mineral physics results show that the inner core is lighter than pure iron by 3–7% and the outer core is lighter than pure iron by 5–10%, so the core must also contain so... [more]