China quake: topography can reveal tectonic activity

R. PRASAD Changes in river channel steepness were seen in the area where the quake had struck Terrain Tales: The May 12 quake provides compelling evidence that landscapes can encode information about the rates and patterns of tectonic activity. The May 12 earthquake that struck the Sichuan Province in China appears to indicate that topography, or more specifically, changes in landscape gradients can be used to reveal seismic hazards of a region. Geophysical methods have traditionally been used to study tectonic activity and earthquakes.