Lab-Grown Earthquakes Reveal the Frictional Forces Acting Beneath Our Feet

Thrust Vault Dynamics

Thrust Vault Dynamics

Simulating an earthquake on a miniature scale in a laboratory known unofficially as the "seismological wind tunnel," engineers and seismologists have produced the most comprehensive look to date at the complex physics of friction driving destructive thrust-fault earthquakes. "Simulating earthquakes in a lab lets us observe how these brief and violent events grow and evolve by ‘slowing down' their motion through high-speed photography and optics," says Ares Rosakis, the Theodore von Karman Professor of Aeronautics and Mechanical Engineering. [Caltech story]

Professor Ares Rosakis

Professor Ares Rosakis

Tags: research highlights GALCIT MCE Ares Rosakis