Shaking earth: Non-linear seismic processes and the second law of thermodynamics: A case study from Canterbury (New Zealand) earthquakes
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AutorPosadas Chinchilla, Antonio Miguel; Morales Soto, José; Ibáñez Godoy, Jesús Miguel; Posadas Garzón, A.
Nonlinear dynamicsEarthquakesSecond law of thermodynamicsEntropyCanterbury earthquakes
Posadas, A., Morales, J., Ibañez, J. M., & Posadas-Garzon, A. (2021). Shaking earth: Non-linear seismic processes and the second law of thermodynamics: A case study from Canterbury (New Zealand) earthquakes. Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, 151, 111243. [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chaos.2021.111243]
PatrocinadorResearch Groups belonging to Junta de Andalucia, Spain RNM104- RNM194; Spanish National Projects PID2019-109608GB-I00; Junta de Andalucia A-RNM-421-UGR18
Earthquakes are non-linear phenomena that are often treated as a chaotic natural processes. We propose the use of the Second Law of Thermodynamics and entropy, H, as an indicator of the equilibrium state of a seismically active region (a seismic system). In this sense, in this paper we demonstrate the exportability of first principles (e.g., thermodynamics laws) to others scientific fields (e.g., seismology). We suggest that the relationship between increasing H and the occurrence of large earthquakes reflects the irreversible transition of a system. From this point of view, a seismic system evolves from an unstable initial state (due to external stresses) to a state of reduced stress after an earthquake. This is an irreversible transition that entails an increase in entropy. In other words, a seismic system is in a metastable situation that can be characterised by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. We investigated two seismic episodes in the Canterbury area of New Zealand: the 2010 Christchurch earthquake (M = 7.2) and the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake (M = 7.8). The results are remarkably in line with our theoretical forecasts. In other words, an earthquake, understood as an irreversible transition, must results in an increase in entropy.