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 In times of climate change: What a lake’s colour can tell about its condition
21.09.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht Did marine sponges trigger the ‘Cambrian explosion’ through ‘ecosystem engineering’?
21.09.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Comet or asteroid? Hubble discovers that a unique object is a binary

21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cnidarians remotely control bacteria

21.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?

21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>