UH Research Measures Weathering of Rocks Below Surface

Nov 9, 2015

Credit James St. John / Flickr
Foam model showing crack formations.
Credit Steve Martel

Rock formations can tell scientists a lot about changes in the earth. Fractures in bedrock affect where drinking water will flow and the path magma will take as it pushes toward the surface.

Now a team of researchers at the University of Hawai‘I, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Wyoming and elsewhere has created a model that measures horizontal pressure on rock layers.

By using location, topography, and physical features – scientists are able to predict the extent of bedrock weathering below the surface.  The formula allows researchers to predict where formations will fracture and results can be applied to real life situations like construction development – or monitoring the rocks which make up Hawaii’s aquifer.

Stephen Martel is a professor with UH’s Department of Geology and Geophysics. 

Martel’s research was recently published in the journal “Science”. More information on this story can be seen at UH’s website.