The Method: Crustal Hijinks And The New Nuclear Power

May 23, 2016

The 2011 Virginia earthquake cracked the Washington Monument and damaged other buildings in the Mid-Atlantic. A team led by Dr. Berk Biryol says it's possible huge rock slabs slowly peeling away from the underside of the Earth's crust may be responsible for this and other earthquakes.
Credit U.S. Park Police/National Park Service

All earthquakes are products of the dynamic planet we live on. They typically occur as massive slabs of the Earth's crust, called tectonic plates, bump against, over and past each other.

But the East Coast isn’t anywhere near a plate boundary. So what causes the earthquakes we feel in Appalachia? A seismologist at the University of North Carolina thinks he might know. A team led by Dr. Berk Biryol examined the patterns of seismic waves passing through the North American continent, and discovered it appears parts of the crust under our feet are slowly falling away and sinking deeper into the Earth. Biryol talks about his findings with Method host Brandon Hollingsworth.

Then, Matt Shafer Powell learns about a new type of nuclear power generator. The Tennessee Valley Authority hopes for federal approval of the Small Modular Reactor (SMR) model, and the utility has picked a site near Oak Ridge as a potential test area. TVA's Jim Hopson is Matt's guest.