Skip to main content

Uncovering the Secrets of an Earthquake: Multidisciplinary Study of Physico-Chemical Processes During the Seismic Cycle

Objective

Southern Europe and Turkey lie within the highest seismic risk areas in the world. Understanding the physico-chemical processes controlling earthquake generation is essential in seismic hazard assessment. Destructive earthquakes nucleate at depth (10-15 km), therefore monitoring active faults at the Earth’s surface, or interpreting seismic waves, yields only limited information on earthquake mechanics. We propose to investigate earthquake processes by: 1) installing a new world class high velocity rock friction apparatus to perform experiments under deformation conditions typical of earthquakes; 2) studying fossil seismic sources now exhumed at the Earth's surface; 3) analyzing natural and experimental fault rock materials using a novel multidisciplinary approach involving state of the art techniques in microstructural analysis, mineralogy and petrology; 4) producing new theoretical earthquake models calibrated (and tightly constrained) by field observations, mechanical data from rock-friction experiments and analyses of natural and experimental fault rocks. The integration of such an original and complementary data set shall provide an unprecedented insight into the mechanics of seismic faulting. The installation of the new dedicated rock friction apparatus will allow the European Union to become a key world player competing at the top scientific level in the study of earthquake mechanics. The proposed study has additional implications for understanding other friction-controlled processes important in Earth sciences and hazard mitigation (e.g., rock landslides). Friction also has broad applications in the industry, including innovative but poorly understood production processes. Our experimental results will help to improve industrial milling techniques and investigate the mechanical-chemical transformations induced during milling. The latter is the basis of a new technique for the production of hydrocarbons and hydrogen from inorganic and organic materials.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/geology/mineralogy
  • /natural sciences/chemical sciences/organic chemistry/hydrocarbons
  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences
  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/geology/petrology
  • /social sciences/economics and business/economics/production economics
  • /social sciences/sociology/governance/crisis management/seismic risk management

Call for proposal

ERC-2007-StG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-SG - ERC Starting Grant

Host institution

ISTITUTO NAZIONALE DI GEOFISICA E VULCANOLOGIA
Address
Via Di Vigna Murata 605
00143 Roma
Italy
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 1 787 600
Principal investigator
Giulio Di Toro (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Sofia Mariano (Dr.)

Beneficiaries (2)

ISTITUTO NAZIONALE DI GEOFISICA E VULCANOLOGIA
Italy
EU contribution
€ 1 787 600
Address
Via Di Vigna Murata 605
00143 Roma
Activity type
Research Organisations
Principal investigator
Giulio Di Toro (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Sofia Mariano (Dr.)
UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI PADOVA
Italy
EU contribution
€ 204 400
Address
Via 8 Febbraio 2
35122 Padova
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Domenico Rio (Prof.)