Picture of the Week

LUX dark matter detector

Detecting dark matter

The kind of matter and energy we can see and touch – whether it is in the form of atoms and molecules, or heat and light, only forms a tiny proportion of the content of the Universe, only about 5%. Over a quarter is dark matter, which is totally invisible but whose gravitational attraction can be detected; while over two thirds is dark energy, a force that pushes the Universe to expand ever faster.

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Fault scarp

4 November 2013

Fault scarp in the Apennines, Italy. Photo: Joanna Faure Walker (UCL IRDR)

Fault scarps are in effect fossilised earthquakes. When the ground on one side moves relative to the other side, a step is left in the bedrock. Over time, erosion can reveal these long (up to tens of kilometres) scars in the landscape. The photo above, taken in the Apennine mountains in central Italy, shows a fault scarp close up, with a handy human in the frame for scale.

New research by a team including UCL's Joanna Faure Walker and Birkbeck's Gerald Roberts (in the photo) has studied fault scarps in the Apennines. Because they are visible signs of movements in the rock over millions of years, fault scarps can be used to reconstruct the behaviour of a fault over much longer timescales than is possible by observing the faults over human timescales.

Photo credit: Joanna Faure Walker (UCL IRDR)


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Page last modified on 04 nov 13 13:16