Why are all the tectonic faults vertical??

Wed, 20th Aug, '08

I can’t really make my point here until you open the image below in a separate tab or something and view it in full size. This plot has been generated using earthquake data for the past hundred years from earthquake.usgs.gov and it was plotted on a world map representation using MATLAB. My question is posed in full glory beneath this image.

Tectonic Plates plotted with data from USGS using MATLAB

Seismic Activity plotted with data from USGS using MATLAB

All the dots on this image are the epicentres of a recorded earthquake as per data from USGS. The more yellow a dot is, the more severe the earthquake that was recorded, so basically higher the Richter magnitude. Blue dots are relatively low magnitude ones.

From the image you can make out the African plate in the middle, the American plates to the left of it[you can see the California fault to the very left of the North American plate], and at the top-right corner of the image is Japan. So now you can make out some serious fault lines represented here as dense yellow dots.

My question is, Why are all the fault lines running from north to south, i.e., vertical, and not more like parallel to the equator?? Has this anything to do with the direction of earth’s rotation??

Please leave your answers in the comments section below.

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One Response to “Why are all the tectonic faults vertical??”

  1. matlab Says:

    […] with matlab and USGS data helps explain this question with some insight. Can someone answer this??https://krahulg.wordpress.com/2008/08/20/why-are-all-the-tectonic-faults-vertical/CTM: Matlab Basics TutorialMatlab is an interactive program for numerical computation and data … […]


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