Dr. Jonathan Farner, assistant professor, geology and geophysics at Missouri S&T, Rolla, Missouri, will present.
Abstract: Motion along continental transforms is primarily accommodated by recurrent large earthquakes. These earthquakes are catastrophic and pose significant threats to economic vitality and cause substantial infrastructural damage and considerable loss of human life. Such geohazards require that we take steps to understand and monitor such locations and increase societal awareness and preparedness in case of future catastrophic events. Whereas most major strike-slip plate boundaries in highly populated regions (e.g., San Andreas Fault, North Anatolian Fault) are subject to intense monitoring, similar efforts are lacking for the Polochic-Motagua Fault System (PMFS), the North American and Caribbean plate boundary in Guatemala.
A 7.5 magnitude earthquake along the PMFS in 1976, claimed more than 20,000 lives and left nearly 1.5 million people homeless, illustrating the need to better understand this plate boundary. In this talk, Farner will review the tectonic system of Guatemala, highlight some of the most important unanswered questions and remaining puzzels, and summarize the work that has been carried out to answer some of these outstanding tectonic questions.