Looking for signs of past earthquake activity, OSU scientists and a team of international collaborators drilled sediment cores in the Indian Ocean in June.
When a massive piece of the Indian Ocean seafloor lurched in 2004, the resulting devastation renewed worldwide concerns about tsunami risks. Last May, OSU and Indonesian scientists collaborated in a research project to understand earthquake history in the region. Ultimately, they want to know how and when such an event could happen there again.
Chris Goldfinger, a marine geologist in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, led the 35–member research team, which included 12 scientists from OSU and experts from Indonesia, Japan, the U.K., Germany and Spain. The cruise produced 100 deep–sea sediment cores from the 2,000–mile–long Sunda trench west of the island of Sumatra.
Goldfinger’s research has created a detailed earthquake history in a place similar to the Sunda trench: the Cascadia Subduction Zone off the Pacific Northwest coast. "We hope to create the same kind of history for the Indian Ocean region," Goldfinger says.
The cores are being stored and analyzed at OSU. Data will be shared with researchers who will spend the next several years evaluating evidence for the severity, frequency and location of past earthquakes.