A multi-disciplinary team of researchers have presented the most up to date and advanced simulation of earthquake shaking yet, at the Supercomputing 2010 conference held this week in New Orleans.
The “M8” simulation depicts a magnitude 8.0 earthquake on the southern San Andreas Fault in much greater detail than has ever been seen before in a simulation.
“Petascale simulations such as this one are needed to understand the rupture and wave dynamics of the largest earthquakes, at shaking frequencies required to engineer safe structures,” said Thomas Jordan, director of SCEC and Principal Investigator for the project. Previous simulations were useful only for modeling how tall structures will behave in earthquakes, but the new simulation can be used to understand how a broader range of buildings will respond.
“The scientific results of this massive simulation are very interesting, and its level of detail has allowed us to observe things that we were not able to see in the past,” said Kim Olsen, professor of geological sciences at SDSU, and lead seismologist of the study
Not surprisingly, you won’t be performing this sort of simulation on your laptop at home. Only the most advanced supercomputers in the world are in a position to run the enormous number of calculations needed to run these sort of simulations.