Despite intensive research, scientists cannot predict when and where the next major earthquake will occur. With their ERC Synergy project Fault Activation and Earthquake Rupture (FEAR), a consortium of scientists from ETH Zurich, RWTH Aachen University and the Instituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia in Italy want to better understand the physics of earthquake processes. The new findings will also be used to advance experiments on the safe use of geoenergy and to improve the predictability of earthquakes.
FEAR will take place in the BedrettoLab, where the researchers will attempt to generate an earthquake rupture with a length of 10-100m (magnitude ~1.0), under controlled conditions and at a depth of more than one kilometre. They will use a dense network of various sensor types to monitor the rupture preparation phase, as well as the rupture process itself and the post-rupture response of the rock mass, with great detail and from close up.