‘Revolutionary’ research on seismic mechanisms is published in Nature Communications for AerE’s Levitas

Anson Marston Emeritus Professor of Engineering and Head of Faculty Vance Coffman Valery Levitas

Generic earthquake graphAssumptions and theory regarding what happens in deep earthquakes were supported by Professor Emeritus Anson Marston of Aerospace Engineering and Faculty Director Vance Coffman Valery Levitasin his early work on geophysical problems.

A recently published paper, “Solving the Riddles of the Phase Transformation Based Mechanism of the Strong Deep Earthquake”, was published in Nature Communications, one of the top-ranked scientific journals.

Deep-focus earthquakes have a hypocenter at a depth of 350 to 660 kilometers and occur almost exclusively at converging boundaries in association with subducted oceanic lithosphere. However, many questions have surrounded the details of what happens with the processes of these earthquakes.

Levitas’ findings are hailed not only as altering existing concepts regarding the initiation of deep earthquakes, but also as altering general geophysical concepts regarding how phase transformations occur in the earth.

Valery Levitas Research Post Chart
Graphics from Levitas’ post illustrate the results of his in-depth study of earthquakes

The research uses a combination of several innovative concepts that quantitatively solve the puzzles regarding the process. Levitas’ research looked at the phase transformations that cause these earthquakes and analyzed them in a way never before used for geological materials with what he presented as “plastic deformation induced” phase transformations. instead of the conventionally accepted “pressure/strain induced” transformations.

The work finds a 3D analytical solution for the strain-transformation-heating coupling in a shear band. This solution predicts conditions for severe (singular) transformation-induced plasticity (TRIP) and a self-inflated deformation-transformation-heating process due to positive thermomechanical-chemical feedback, which sheds new light on this area. of study. To access the full publication.

This is the second paper by Levitas published in Nature Communications in 2022. The first was “Non-trivial nanostructure, stress relaxation mechanisms and crystallography for pressure-induced Si-I → Si-II phase transformation” (see summary and full publication), written with him and AerE faculty member Liming Xiong’s former Ph.D. AerE. student Hao Chen, and Argonne National Laboratory researchers Dmitry Popov and Nenad Velisavljevic.

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