The initial high-energy phenomena of earthquake sources in fluid-saturated environments

  • Sergii D. KaimEmail author
Original Article


Experimental data pertaining to weak faults requires construction of microscopic models of the earthquake sources. This study proposes a new high-energy mechanism of transformation of potential energy of strata, saturated with free or bounded fluids, into a kinetic energy of motion of rocks. The proposed approach relies within the framework of classic statistical theory. The high-energy phenomena at a nanometer level are generated by self-consistent molecular fields acting on individual particles. The analysis is carried out using the Bogolyubov-Born-Green-Kirkwood-Yvon equations for the particle group distribution functions. We have investigated the number of high-energy phenomena: (1) the emission of atoms and molecules with high energies from the abruptly opened surface of a condensed system; (2) the implosion of convergent streams of high-energy particles, accompanied by a phenomena of their shock dissociation and ionization, with a subsequent formation of partially ionized plasma; and (3) the recombination processes inside a plasma leading to a formation of molecules with high kinetic energies. The initiation of an earthquake occurs due to an abrupt opening of a cavity in the fluid-saturated medium. At certain thermodynamic conditions, the work function of atoms and molecules from the surface of the system may take negative values. As a result, the emission of molecules of fluids from the cavity walls will generate the high-speed streams of molecules. The emitted flux of molecules leads to the phenomena of implosion, impact dissociation, and ionization of the molecules. This plasma state of the medium is sufficient for an explosion. The explosion initiates a self-supporting chain of consequent explosions in a plane of the tectonic fault. As an example, we have considered the Bridgman explosion of serpentinite.


Earthquake source Emission of molecules Implosion Shock dissociation Explosions Deep processes 



Metadata or data products for this study were accessed through the Northern California Earthquake Data Center (NCEDC), doi:10.7932/NCEDC. The author is expressing his utmost gratitude to the reviewers of the paper for their keen, thorough, and useful comments and recommendations.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Opolе University of TechnologyOpolePoland

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