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Why we look for faults (in the middle of North America)

April 24, 2015

Looking for faults in the craton (the old part of the North American continent) can be, well, challenging what with all of the dirt and vegetation covering up so much of the rock.  One reason to find these elusive faults is to avoid pumping large volumes of waste water into them and thereby increasing the potential for earthquakes.  Here are some links to news reports about recent studies suggesting that faults and huge volumes of waste water don’t mix.

April 23 New York Times Article           Oklahoma earthquake map                April 21 New York Times Article

Undergraduate pre-service teacher-researchers involved in Geoenvironmental Challenges are discovering new ways to use old geologic maps and new field observations to find hard-to-find faults.

Faculty mentor Dr. Mark Abolins recently led a fault-finding field trip in connection with the 2015 Geological Society of America Southeastern Section Meeting in Chattanooga, TN.

Abolins, M., Young, S., Camacho, J., Trexler, M., Ward, A., Cooley, M., and Ogden, A., 2015, A road guide to the Harpeth River and Stones River fault zones on the northwest flank of the Nashville dome, central Tennessee, in Holmes, A.E., ed., Diverse Excursions in the Southeast: Paleozoic to Present: Geological Society of America Field Guide 39, p. 1–20, doi:10.1130/2015.0039(01).

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