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Supercomputing Earth Technology

Solving an Earth-Sized Jigsaw Puzzle 39

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-the-edges-first dept.
aarondubrow writes "Three years ago, researchers from Caltech and The University of Texas at Austin came together to create a computational tool that could model the Earth and answer the most pressing questions in geophysics: What controls the speed of plates? How do microplates interact? How much energy do the plates generate and how does it dissipate? Using a new geodynamics software package they developed, the researchers have modeled plate motion with greater accuracy than ever before. The project is also a finalist for the Gordon Bell Prize — high performance computing's Oscar — at this year's SC10 conference."
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Solving an Earth-Sized Jigsaw Puzzle

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  • by mlush (620447) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @04:52AM (#33447148)

    You can measure plate motions with GPS, if you're patient. Most of the deep structure is worked out using seismic imaging.

    You don't have to be really patient... plates move at 2-10 cm/year so you'd start getting GPS data within 2-5 years, Historic data [wikipedia.org] is not too hard to get as the Magnetic stripe patterns on the spreading seafloor give data going back to the Jurassic and the mechanical/geological fit between continents gives data on the original configuration

  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @05:31AM (#33447300) Homepage Journal

    Is there any reason, if people will SILL live in California despite anything you can dig out?

    Setting aside parser errors I suppose California is only dangerous if you choose to live under an unstable pile of rocks.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JasterBobaMereel (1102861) on Thursday September 02, 2010 @06:12AM (#33447496)

    A large proportion of the worlds population live in earthquake or volcano zones ... ...Because that is where all the richest soils, and mineral deposits are ...

    Most large cities are on the coast or on large rivers and so are prone to flooding, because they grew due to being a port

    Very few cities are founded where it is safe, instead they are founded where resources are, which also turn out to be dangerous ....

    People continue to live there because that's where the work is ...

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