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Co-Seismic Mass Dislocation and its Effect on Earth's Rotation and GravityMantle processes often involve large-scale mass transport, ranging from mantle convection, tectonic motions, glacial isostatic adjustment, to tides, atmospheric and oceanic loadings, volcanism and seismicity. On very short time scale of less than an hour, co-seismic event, apart from the shaking that is the earthquake, leaves behind permanent (step-function-like) dislocations in the crust and mantle. This redistribution of mass changes the Earth's inertia tensor (and hence Earth's rotation in both length-of-day and polar motion), and the gravity field (in terms of spherical harmonic Stokes coefficients). The question is whether these effects are large enough to be of any significance. In this paper we report updated calculation results based on Chao & Gross (1987). The calculation uses the normal mode summation scheme, applied to nearly twenty thousand major earthquakes that occurred during 1976-2002, according to source mechanism solutions given by the Harvard Central Moment Tensor catalog. Compared to the truly large ones earlier in the century, the earthquakes we study are individually all too small to have left any discernible signature in geodetic records of Earth rotation or global gravity field. However, their collective effects continue to exhibit an extremely strong statistical tendencies. For example, earthquakes conspire to decrease J2 and J22 while shortening LOD, resulting in a rounder and more compact Earth. Strong tendency is also seen in the earthquakes trying to nudge the Earth rotation pole towards approximately 140 degrees E, roughly opposite to the observed polar drift direction. The geophysical significance and implications will be further studied.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Chao, B. F.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Gross, R. S.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2002
Subject Category
Meeting Information
Meeting: IERS Workshop on Combination Research and Global Geophysical Fluids
Location: Munich
Country: Germany
Start Date: November 18, 2002
End Date: November 21, 2002
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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