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Date:5/20/2013

ine ahead of print 16 May 2013; http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/G34217.1.

Results reported here by L.L. Brothers and colleagues show the first evidence for widespread seabed methane venting along the southeastern U.S. Atlantic Margin beyond the well-known Blake Ridge Diapir Seep. While it was suspected that such seeps existed, there was little direct evidence until now. Data collected from recent ship and autonomous underwater vehicle surveys discovered multiple water-column gas plumes (>1000 m height and made up of bubbles). Brothers and colleagues also mapped extensive new chemosynthetic seep communities (communities of biological organisms that directly use methane and/or sulfide for life processes) at the Blake Ridge and Cape Fear Diapirs. Flow along these systems is both more dynamic (more active) and more widespread than previously believed.


Dynamic weakening by nanoscale smoothing during high-velocity fault slip
Xiaofeng Chen et al. (Ze'ev Reches, corresponding), School of Geology and Geophysics, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma 73019, USA. Posted online ahead of print 16 May 2013; http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/G34169.1.

While slip during large earthquakes occurs along faults that are hundreds of kilometers long, the dynamic weakening that drives these earthquakes is controlled by nano- to micro-scale frictional processes. Xiaofeng Chen and colleagues analyzed the nano- to micro-scale friction processes along experimental faults that slipped at high slip-velocity. Their analysis showed that the experimental faults became very smooth and developed shiny, mirror surfaces. The nanoscale friction coefficient dropped on these highly smooth surfaces and demonstrated, for the first time, that slip-smoothing at high slip-velocities can be an effective mechanism of dynamic weakening.


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Contact: Christa Stratton
cstratton@geosociety.org
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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