Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The ESF Meeting On Earthquakes


Letter from Stavros T. Tassos; notes from the European Science Foundation Conference. (Posted with permission from the author).

Emphasis (bold) added by me.

Tassos, S.T., The ESF Conference, personal communication, received Nov 11, 2008

In the ESF Conference on ‘New Challenges in Earthquake Dynamics’ in Obergurgl, a small ski resort at 1900 meters altitude, and about 50 km from Innsbruck, Austria, some of the ‘big names’ among the about 100 participants, in the field of seismology presented their work. After the ESF conference I went to Leuven, for a lecture to about 20 PhD students and staff members. As an ‘observer’, but also as an ‘involved participant’ I will try to present the general themes and highlights of these two events, as well as their reaction to my ideas, and my reaction to their ideas.

-- Although the title of the conference was ‘New Challenges in Earthquake Dynamics’, the general framework of plate tectonics and elastic rebound was not challenged. Only my presentation titled ‘the challenge of the cause and effect relationship between faults and earthquakes’ challenged the fundamental assumptions of plate tectonics and elastic rebound.

-- The earthquake dynamics within the mainstream plate tectonics and horizontal movement framework refer to horizontal stress, mostly static, i.e., the one that does not change, or changes very slowly with time, but the horizontal dynamic stress, i.e., the one that changes quickly with time, was also considered and debated. Thus in the conventional framework rocks are an elastic medium, at least partially, and static stress changes along future fault planes produce elastic strain accumulation, i.e., bending, frictional sliding, then rupture, and finally an earthquake.

-- My thesis is that rocks are a plastic medium, i.e., they cannot accumulate elastic strain through bending, and an earthquake is the primary elastic mandatory effect of a sufficient dynamic stress, as in free-fall, from a height of the order of 10^-5 to 10^-2 m, that forces an otherwise inelastic medium to respond momentarily elastically, and a fault is the secondary possible post-seismic inelastic effect if the stress is sufficiently high to cause rupture. In other words I concentrate on understanding, and proposing a comprehensive and physically possible deterministic model of the physics of the earthquake source, and not on statistical modeling.

-- Within again the mainstream framework the validity of statistical models was discussed and debated. In one case an invited speaker presented the case of nine (9) different models that all fitted the data from a particular earthquake very well. It is obvious that most likely neither one of them corresponds to the physical actuality and all are mental artifacts. In all cases most of the work presented was on statistical models and on how static stress accumulates and transfers, and not about the physics of the earthquake source, which is still unknown as it was unanimously recognized.

-- The deadlock of the mainstream approach was shown on several occasions. I do not mention names, first because the views expressed by most if not all speakers more or less reflect the general feeling, and second because my intention is only to discuss and criticize ideas:

1.One of the key speakers presented his statistical model on how aftershocks can be triggered by either static or dynamic horizontal stress transfer from the main-shock. My question was: OK let us accept that the aftershocks were triggered by the main shock, but then what triggered the main-shock? Because if the laws of nature are the same regardless of frame of reference, as they are, and your model corresponds to the physical actuality the main-shock should be triggered by an even stronger, but unknown shock His answer was “I do not know. I have only made a statistical model about aftershocks”. I think this is one of the main weaknesses of the main-stream way of thinking. Isolate a case and build ad-hoc mathematically perfect statistical models, which nevertheless usually contradict other ad-hoc models, and most likely have nothing to do with the physical actuality.

2.On another occasion a speaker presented an interesting theoretical and experimental work on the effect of fractured rock on seismic wave velocity. Making also a statement, I asked him, that the real issue was if fracturing could produce seismic waves, and if he had done any experiment on that. His answer was that he had not done any experiment on that, but others had done. But, all those who have experimented with rock rupture under high confining pressure have only recorded sound waves, the speed of which is more than one order of magnitude lower, of the order of 340 m/sec, than the speed of seismic waves, and of course they are transmitted in the air, not in solid rock with about 10^11 Pa rigidity. On the contrary as it was shown experimentally with projectile impacts by Freund (2002, 2003), at 1.45 km.s^-1 impact velocity, P and S waves propagating at ~6 and 3.4 km.s^-1, respectively, were generated that soon faded away within 0.2 ms after impact. At 4.45 km.s^-1 impact velocity fissures began to form 2 ms after impact, i.e., ten times later in time after the seismic waves faded away, and at 5.64 km.s^-1 the block ruptured into three segments along the formerly formed fissures. Thus the dynamic stress had two effects; a primary and a secondary. The primary is mandatory and co-seismic, and refers to the transient elastic response of an otherwise non-elastic rock block, and the generation of seismic waves. The secondary is possible and post-seismic, and involves inelastic slip and the generation of a fault, and occurs there and when the rock’s strength has been exceeded to the degree to cause rupture, and not only creep or slip.

3.Nevertheless few scientists, especially the younger ones but not only, in their private discussions with me expressed a view which could be summed up as “you got a point”.

4.On the overall, the reaction of the majority to my proposition and my reaction to their reaction in both the ESF conference and Leuven University is contained in the e-mails exchanged by Prof. Rudy Swennen, at Leuven University and myself after my talk there. They are as follows: «Dear Stavros, Thank you once again for the nice presentation. Your presentation certainly stimulated some of the discussion in my department, however most scientists are very sceptical about most of your ideas. Kind regards, Rudy», and my reply: «Dear Rudy, It was my pleasure to meet you again and to present my ideas to your department. The reaction of your colleagues is the expected one, and more or less typical of geological audiences, whereas the engineering audiences are more receptive. Of course I insist on my ideas, because I did not hear any scientific objection, for example about the earth's interior getting more rigid as depth increases, because otherwise the observed seismic wave velocity increase with depth cannot be explained. If this is a fact, as I think observation and logic indicate it is, the implications are unavoidable. For one thing the ambient temperatures in the mantle cannot be high, and more so increase with depth. Therefore although I can understand the psychological reaction because I put under question literally all the fundamental assumptions and notions of mainstream science, I cannot consider it equivalent to a scientific argument. I try to come up with a comprehensive set of ideas so that there is no need to adhere to ad-hoc interpretations that usually contradict each other, for example treat the earth as a solid body in seismology, and as a melt in volcanology, in order to explain the various physical phenomena. Nevertheless I really appreciate the opinion of people like you. So since you have my presentation, and of course at your early convenience, study it, reflect on it, and then I would be more than happy to hear your scientific objections, and try to answer them. Thank you again for the invitation to present my provocative ideas to your department. Best regards, Stavros» 
Kanamori, H., The Energy Release in Great Earthquakes, Journal of Geophysical Research, Volume 82, Issue B20, p. 2981-2988, 1977

Freund, F.T., et al., Mid-Infrared Luminescence Observed During Rock Deformation, AGU, 2002

Freund, F.T., Rocks That Crackle and Sparkle and Glow: Strange Pre-Earthquake Phenomena, Journal of Scientific Exploration, Volume 17, Number 1, Pages 37-71, 2003

Freund, F.T., et al., Stimulated IR Emission From The Surface of Rocks During Deformation, AGU, Volume 84, Number 46, 2003

Tassos, S.T., and Ford, D.J., An Integrated Alternative Conceptual Framework to Heat Engine Earth, Plate Tectonics, and Elastic Rebound, Journal of Scientific Exploration, Volume 19, Number 1, Pages 43-90, 2005


Anaconda said...


This is an excellent post for a number of reasons.

Your personal correspondence with Stavros T. Tassos adds to the dynamics of the Oil Is Mastery website. Tassos' observations of the conference is enlightening. His experience provides an example of what is generally known about scientific advancement: The "next generation" leads the way!

In regards to earthquakes, it's apparent the "first cause" eludes most of the seismic community.

(Other than to "fall back" on the problematic Tectonic Plate, Continental Drift theory.)

The "first cause" is generally the most elusive, and most important; it's the key to unlocking the door to understanding the forces controlling the "mechanism".

Earthquakes are a manifestation of Expanding Earth theory.

OilIsMastery, I also want to thank you for posting Rocks That Crackle and Sparkle and Glow: Strange Pre-Earthquake Phenomena, by
Friedemann T. Freund.

As you know, I have been pursuing Plasma Universe theory mechanisms to supply the added matter for an expanding Earth.

Quantum_Flux asked, "I'm curious how the plasma is supposed to penetrate through the Earth and get to the center of it?"

The paper you linked offers observations and explanations that provide a possible answer to Quantum_Flux's question.

I'll quote two passages from the abstract:

"Seismic waves are the most dramatic and most intensely studied manifestations of earthquakes. However, we also know of non-seismic phenomena, which precede large earthquakes. Some of them have been reported for centuries, even millennia. The list is long and diverse: bulging of the Earth’s surface, changing well water levels, ground-hugging fog, low frequency electromagnetic emission, earthquake lights from ridges and mountain tops, magnetic field anomalies up to 0.5% of the Earth’s dipole field, temperature anomalies by several degrees over wide areas as seen in satellite images, changes in the plasma density of the ionosphere, and strange animal behavior."

It's remarkable that many of these phenomena are electromagnetic.


"Evidence will be presented that, once the positive holes are generated, currents propagate through the rocks leading to electromagnetic emission, to positive surface potentials, to corona discharges, to positive ion emission, and to mid-infrared radiation. These phenomena are expressions of the same fundamental process: the ‘‘awakening’’ of dormant positive hole charge carriers that turn rocks momentarily into p-type semiconductors."

The paper is extremely interesting (at least to me) because it demonstrates and explains these electromagnetic properties, which seems to provide a pathway for plasma into the center of the Earth. Specifically, the paper discusses ion conductivity, which is crucial to my hypothesis because ions provide the mass for an expanding Earth.

Evidence is mounting that electromagnetism is the "third axis" along with the axis of temperature and pressure for chemical thermo-molecular bonding reactions in the Earth's crust and mantle, and that Plasma Universe theory is the driving force for this "third axis".

(In my opinion.)

Also, it's an interesting paper because it sheds light directly on Abiotic Oil theory, my driving interest, here, on the Oil Is Mastery website.

In another passage quoted from the paper magnetite is discussed:

"Except for sulfide minerals, which are often quite conductive, the only oxide mineral that shows an appreciable electronic conductivity is magnetite, Fe3O4 In magnetite, Fe2 and Fe3 alternate on neighboring sites,
allowing for Fe2 /Fe3 valency fluctuations to delocalize over the cation sublattice and to thus conduct electricity."

Another passage discusses magnesium oxide, MgO:

"For instance, in MgO, which can serve as a model, ionic conductivity is dominated by Mg2
cations hopping into Mg2 vacancies, and this process sets in at around 700 C. In olivine, (Mg,Fe)2SiO4, the onset of conductivity is placed between 700and 800 C." (More magnesium oxide discussion is in the paper.)

It's noted that magnesium is also highly associated with oil deposits in the form of dolomite, which is a mineral composed partly of magnesium oxide. 80% of North American oil deposits are located in association with dolomite.

Electromagnetic forces likely have an effect on catalytic reactions like serpentization in which both magnesium and iron are major elements (an Abiotic Oil formation process), and electromagnetic forces likey have an effect on mantle reactions, as well.

Please see, Electronic Heat Trap Grips Deep Earth: Current Models Of Mantle Dynamics Challenged, Science Daily (Nov. 12, 2008) - "The key to understanding Earth's evolution, including how our atmosphere gained oxygen and how volcanoes and earthquakes form, is to look deep, really deep, into the lower mantle—a region some 400 to 1,800 miles (660 to 2,900 kilometers) below the surface.

Researchers at the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory simulated conditions at these depths and recently discovered that the concentration of highly oxidized (ferric) iron (Fe3+) in the two major mantle minerals is key to moving heat in that region. Such heat transfer affects material movement throughout the planet."

This article not only highlights the growing awareness of how central electrical forces are in the deep Earth, but also specifically discusses the role of iron, Fe, in these reactions.

Well, it also so happens that iron, Fe, in the form of magnetite is experimentally shown to be central to catalytic serpentization reactions that form abiotic oil. And was one of the three substances that J.F. Kenney experimentally placed under ultra-high pressure and temperature (mantle conditions) to form alkane series hydrocarbons, similar to natural petroleum.

An accompanying picture of a diamond anvil cell in the article attaches this work to J.F. Kenny's work on Abiotic Oil formation in the mantle.

It's beginning to look like Abiotic Oil theory, Expanding Earth theory, and Plasma Universe theory are converging. Indeed, it may turn out that these three theories (Abiotic Oil theory being the "little brother") may be the main leg of a "unified theory" of geological and astrological dynamics.

For readers, see Oil Is Mastery post: Biogeographical Falsification of Subduction, November 8, 2008, for the enire discussion thread of Plasma Universe theory's relation to Expanding Earth theory.

As a side note there is another pre-earthquake phenomenon that fits into the line of discussion in the linked paper: YouTube, 10 mins before the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China (aurora like pink shimmering haze).

This is part of an "Electric Earthquake" discussion at Louis Hissink's Crazy World, which draws heavily on Freund's paper quoting several passages.

All in all, a very informative post and one that ties many scientific threads together that the Oil Is Mastery website has been exploring.

Again, great post, OilIsMastery.


Anaconda said...


People try to put us d-down (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Just because we get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

Why don't you all f-fade away (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
And don't try to dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm just talkin' 'bout my g-g-g-generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

Why don't you all f-fade away (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
And don't try to d-dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm not trying to cause a b-big s-s-sensation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm just talkin' 'bout my g-g-generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

People try to put us d-down (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Just because we g-g-get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Yeah, I hope I die before I get old (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

"The next generation, baby"

Anaconda said...


This a pertinent quote from the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer: "all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

OilIsMastery said...


You might also be interested in Dennis McCarthy's fluid-dynamic (ether) sink view of gravity.

"The most reasonable mechanism for planetary expansion, in my opinion, involves fluid-sink views of gravity which involves the collection (not the spontaneous generation) of ultra-mundane matter at the cores of astronomical bodies." -- Dennis D. McCarthy, geoscientist, October 2003

See below:

Jacobson, T.A., and Parentani, R., An ECHO of Black Holes, Scientific American, Pages 69-75, 2005

"There is no known physical principle, no known physics law, no known physics theory, and no known physics equation which remotely suggests that planets and stars cannot gain mass via collection of sub-sub-sub atomic particles. None. There is no violating regarding known laws of physics. Indeed, the Earth does gain some mass (a small amount) due to being pelted with solar wind, neutrinos, etc. Does this change all of physics? It does not change or alter basic physics -- or even modern physics. It merely reinterprets the equations of general relativity. It is consistent with mass conservation and energy conservation. I really can't state this any more simply." -- Dennis McCarthy 2003

Quantum_Flux said...

I'll buy into Expanding Earth Theory based on the model that Neil Adams provides (until further evidence comes along). This is all very fascinating stuff indeed.

Perhaps my fissionable material hypothesis could still explain the large order of magnitude increase in radius that is proposed:

My hypothesis for expanding planets would be that perhaps there cores started out as high density fissionable material fused from a previous star that went nova, and then they expanded over time with the decay rate of that fissionable material to the lower order atomic elements we see all around us now. That would explain why the less radioactive decay we see, the older the planet, and older planets expand much slower than newer planets do.

Given an nova explosion, the inner planets should start with a denser fissionable material than the outer planets do, which would be consistant with gravitational centrifuge effects, perhaps the orbital distribution of the material was caused by electrical forces. In this hypothesis, the entire solar system should have the same initial decay time (time Nova). The decay rates would also be subject to gravitation as per general relativity which states that the more massive planets with higher gravitational fields would decay slower than the less massive planets.

Anaconda said...


I agree with your June 9, 2008 post: Methane Clouds Signal Earthquake.

Your post has a YouTube video showing the pink (rainbow spectrum?) aurora like haze. That makes two seperate videos showing this pink haze. But methane is a clear odorless gas. How did it pick up the pink reflection?

The YouTube video you present seems to have a rainbow spectrum. Could it be somekind of prism effect from sunlight?

If sunlight can be eliminated as a possibility, that's posssibly where Plasma Universe theory comes into play. It would be interesting if experiments were run on methane to see what conditions cause it to give off this pink light.

More on electromagnetic forces and earthquakes, LEEE, Spectrum online: Earthquake Alarm.

OilIsMastery said...

It was a bad assumption on my part. I withdraw the claim but still consider it to be a possibility. Looking at it now and knowing what I know now, the rainbow looks like a nebula e.g. Crab Nebula (aka Plasma Cosmology/Electric Universe).

Anaconda said...


Your position withdrawing your claim is prudent, but the idea of methane clouds as a result of Earthquakes is still valid in my opinion. I couldn't find it at the side-bar (in a quick search), but I remember a series of satellite photos showing a gas cloud released in Iran at the time of the Bam Earthquake.

That series of satellite photos was convincing to me that methane was released at the time of the Earthquake.

(Perhaps, you could post the series of photos in a comment, or let me know where at the side-bar it's located.)

Anaconda said...


You posited: "You might also be interested in Dennis McCarthy's fluid-dynamic (ether) sink view of gravity."

I have looked at some of the materials.

(Certainly not all the materials possibly available.)

Because the post following this covers the issue I'll make my response there. Oil Is Mastery post: Fluid Dynamic (Ether) Sink Gravity, November 13, 2008.