Seismic friction causes fault iridescence

Although iridescent spots on rocks in Utah’s Wasatch Fault Zone were first recognized two decades ago, scientists haven’t understood their origin, until now. New research shows that the iridescence appears on fault surfaces subjected to flash heating from friction and that the spots can provide clues to ancient seismic events. 

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Allison Mills

Allison Mills

Mills works as a science and technology writer for Michigan Tech, moonlighting as a freelancer and dance instructor. She earned her master's in environmental science and natural resource journalism at the University of Montana and studied geoscience as an undergrad at Northland College. She considers herself a radio geek and occasional rock licker. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 06:00