Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

3-D satellite, GPS earthquake maps isolate impacts in real time

24.03.2015

Method produced by UI researcher could improve reaction time to deadly, expensive quakes

When an earthquake hits, the faster first responders can get to an impacted area, the more likely infrastructure--and lives--can be saved.


Satellite radar image of the magnitude 6.0 South Napa earthquake. The "fringe" rainbow pattern appears where the earthquake deformed the ground's surface, with one full cycle of the color spectrum (magenta to magenta) showing 3 centimeters of change. Satellite data like this can now be used to give researchers an understanding of an earthquake and its impacts within days.

Photo courtesy of the European Space Agency

New research from the University of Iowa, along with the United States Geological Survey (USGS), shows that GPS and satellite data can be used in a real-time, coordinated effort to fully characterize a fault line within 24 hours of an earthquake, ensuring that aid is delivered faster and more accurately than ever before.

Earth and Environmental Sciences assistant professor William Barnhart used GPS and satellite measurements from the magnitude 6.0 South Napa, California earthquake on August 24, 2014, to create a three-dimensional map of how the ground surface moved in response to the earthquake. The map was made without using traditional rapid response instruments, such as seismometers, which may not afford the same level of detail for similar events around the globe.

"By having the 3D knowledge of the earthquake itself, we can make predictions of the ground shaking, without instruments to record that ground shaking, and then can make estimates of what the human and infrastructure impacts will be-- in terms of both fatalities and dollars," Barnhart says.

The study, "Geodetic Constraints on the 2014 M 6.0 South Napa Earthquake" published in the March/April edition of Seismological Research Letters, is the first USGS example showing that GPS and satellite readings can be used as a tool to shorten earthquake response times.

And while information about an earthquake's impact might be immediately known in an area such as southern California, Barnhart says the technique will be most useful in the developing world. The catastrophic magnitude 7.0 earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010 is the perfect example for the usefulness of this kind of tool, Barnhart says. The earthquake struck right under the capital city of Port Au Prince, killing up to 316,000 people, depending on estimates, and costing billions of dollars in aid.

"On an international scale, it dramatically reduces the time between when an earthquake happens, when buildings start to fall down, and when aid starts to show up," Barnhart says.

To accurately map the South Napa earthquake for this study, Barnhart and a team of researchers created a complex comparison scenario.

They first used GPS and satellite readings to measure the very small- millimeter-to-centimeter-sized-displacements of the ground's surface that were caused by the earthquake. They fed those measurements into a mathematical equation that inverts the data and relates how much the ground moved to the degree of slip on the fault plane. Slip describes the amount, timing, and distribution of fault plane movement during an earthquake.

This allowed the group to determine the location, orientation, and dimensions of the entire fault without setting foot on the ground near the earthquake. The mathematical inversion gave the researchers predictions of how much the ground might be displaced, and they compared those results to their initial estimations, bit by bit, until their predictions and observations match. The resulting model is a 3D map of fault slip beneath the Earth's surface. The entire procedure takes only a few minutes to complete.

Nationally, there is a push to create an earthquake early-warning system, which is already being tested internally by the USGS in coordination with the University of California, Berkeley; the California Institute of Technology; and the University of Washington. While only researchers, first responders, and other officials received the early warning message, it did work in testing for the Bay Area during the Napa earthquake. Individuals in Berkeley received nearly 10 seconds of advanced warning before the ground began shaking. The information contained in Barnhart's study could be used to create further tools for predicting the economic and human tolls of earthquakes.

"That's why this is so important. It really was the chance to test all these tools that have been put into place," Barnhart says. "It happened in a perfect place, because now we're much more equipped for a bigger earthquake."

Media Contact

Brittany Borghi
brittany-borghi@uiowa.edu
319-384-0048

 @UIowaResearch

http://www.uiowa.edu 

Brittany Borghi | EurekAlert!

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland
19.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht Water - as the underlying driver of the Earth’s carbon cycle
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biogeochemie

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>