Serpentine rock that coats tectonic plates implicated in earthquakes

December 25th, 2007 - 12:41 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, December 25 (ANI): A French researcher has revealed that serpentine, a type of rock that coats the top of many tectonic plates, appears to play a significant role in the production and propagation of earthquakes.

Nadege Hilairet of the University of Lyon located in Lyon, France, worked with colleagues in France and the US, and studied the physical properties of the rock layer.

The researchers performed experiments to describe the deformation of a common form of serpentine at high pressures and temperatures.

They say that the rock is unusually soft, a feature that may help understand why it is often so highly deformed.

The softness of serpentinized fault surfaces in subduction zones, where one tectonic plate sinks beneath another, makes them slippery, encouraging subduction.

In some cases, it also arrests the propagation of earthquakes. (ANI)

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