Supersonic cracks seem to be breaking the laws of physics

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Earthquakes can cause cracks that propagate quickly


Thin strips of a transparent gel have been found to crack impossibly quickly.

“What we found was a total surprise. This just isn’t supposed to happen,” says Jay Fineberg at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel who led the team that observed the record-breaking cracks. The finding could improve our understanding of some earthquakes and how brittle materials break.

The researchers used fast high-resolution cameras to record how cracks spread through thin samples of porous gels that are commonly used for …

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