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About seismology

Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS)
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Seismology is the science of earthquakes.
GEUS records earthquakes from all over the world on seismographs in Denmark and Greenland, and our seismic stations are part of a world wide network. The study of waves propagating through the earth from an earthquake can provide information about the earth's interior.

Seismological studies have a large number of applications in Denmark and Greenland, eg:

  • To provide the basis for the search for oil and other natural resources
  • Seismic risk assessment in major engineering projects, such as the construction of bridges
  • To monitor the international ban on nuclear arms testing by distinguishing between earthquakes and explosions
  • Basic research to enhance our understanding of the earth and of our regional subsurface
Through research in seismology we participate internationally in projects and discussions aimed at improving our understanding of the dynamic earth, such as the stress distribution in the earth's crust.

Earthquakes occur when stresses in the upper layers of the earth are released.

Why do stresses arise?
The earth is composed of several "shell" layers of which the outmost, hard layer - the lithosphere - consists of stiff plates. These plates are in constant motion and as a result stresses build up between them. This theory is known as plate tectonics.

The main purpose of the studies of displacements/stresses in the earth's crust is to investigate:

  • how these stress fields arise
  • the composition of the earth's uppermost layer and
  • the energies of the earthquakes and the magnitude and direction of the stress.

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