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Mon May 18, 2020, 06:00 PM

FSU Researcher Detects Unknown Submarine Landslides in Gulf of Mexico

18-May-2020 3:40 PM EDT, by Florida State University

Newswise — TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A Florida State University researcher has used new detection methods to identify 85 previously unknown submarine landslides that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico between 2008 and 2015, leading to questions about the stability of oil rigs and other structures, such as pipelines built in the region.

Assistant Professor Wenyuan Fan in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science has published a new paper in the journal Geophysical Research Letters that identifies these landslides and the risks they pose to coastal communities.

“The observed landslides suggest a possible tsunami hazard for coastal communities along the Gulf of Mexico and that seabed infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico, including oil platforms and pipelines, is also at risk from the landslides,” Fan said.

Fan and his colleagues measured data from seismic stations across the United States. They found that out of the 85 landslides they identified, 10 occurred spontaneously without preceding earthquakes. The other 75 occurred almost instantly after the passage of surface waves caused by distant earthquakes. Some of these were considered rather small earthquakes, Fan added.


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