China generates seismic waves under Tibet

26 October 2011

China’s state television network, China Central Television (CCTV), and state news network Xinhua announced last Thursday that works have begun to collect data necessary for the sixth Earth Probe Program.

Purang County in Tibet was chosen to host the Earth Probe Program, a core sampling experiment.

CCTV reported that the drilling experiment for the Earth Probe Program has a depth limitation of approximately 10km. This would only allow scientists to retrieve data down to a relatively shallow point.

In order to explore deeper under the earth, explosion experiments have been arranged. Scientists will track and record explosion-induced seismic waves as they are reflected by the various geological layers. This enables analysis of the deep structure of the earth.

Lu Zhanwu of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences said, “We are now doing experiments to get an in depth understanding of the structure of the earth under the thick crust of the Tibetan Plateau. We also want to know whether or not the other experimental sites working with as much as one ton of explosives each can provide us with effective seismic wave reflection.”

CCTV reported that ten 30m-deep wells have already been drilled with explosives placed inside at each experimental site. The project team hopes to collect data of the earth down to a depth of 200km. A total 950 experimental sites of this kind exist. The yield ranges from 50kg to a tonne.

The Earth Probe Program will provide insight into the relationship between tectonic activity and pressure release in the form of earthquakes and volcanos, with a view to forecasting disasters more accurately.