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Frictional HeatApril 13, 2012

Chikyu crew testing out frictional heating (courtesy of Charna)

One of the major objectives of JFAST is the measurement of temperature in the fault zone. Why is this important - well, rapidly rub your hands together like the some of the Chikyu crew are doing in the above picture. Your hands start to get warm due to friction. The slip that occurred on the fault during the Tohoku earthquake would have produced a lot of frictional heat. By measuring how the temperature of the fault zone changes with time scientists can estimate the frictional heat produced when the fault slipped. This can then be used to infer information about frictional stress on the fault.

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