Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New method for predicting earthquakes

13.09.2005


The Swedish Defense Research Agency (FOI) and Uppsala University have shown that a method previously used to warn about mining quakes can be used to predict where and when earthquakes are going to take place.

“Using this method, major quakes like the one that caused the tsunami could be predicted better, both in terms of time and geographic area,” says Leif Persson, a researcher at FOI.

Seismology researchers at FOI and Uppsala University have retrospectively examined the occurrence of earthquakes in the area around Sumatra and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands during the five years preceding the catastrophic earthquake off the coast of Sumatra the day after Easter 2004. This earthquake caused the tsunami that claimed the lives of a great many people around the Indian Ocean.



“We wanted to see whether the methods and analytical tools we use to warn about tremors in mines could be used to predict earthquakes,” explains Leif Persson, who pursues research at FOI and Uppsala University.

In the area around Sumatra and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands earthquakes are common. The tension created in the area when continental plates rub against each other produces a number of minor earthquakes several years before the big earthquake comes. During the five years analyzed by the scientists there were 624 quakes in the area. On October 24, 2002, a powerful earthquake was registered at 7.1 on the Richter scale, and on September 13 the same year there was a 6.7 quake. The earthquake the day after Easter Sunday 2004 that caused the tsunami disaster measured 9.0 on the Richter scale.

Scientists from FOI have studied how the activity in the crust of the earth changed ahead of these tremors. They analyzed how the quakes were distributed in time and space within the area. The researchers used the relation between major and minor quakes, the so-called b-value. The lower the b-value, the greater the increase in tension in the earth’s crust, which entails a greater risk of major quakes. By plotting a ‘window’ consisting of 50 quakes and then moving this window in time from January 2000 to December 2004, they made a revolutionary discovery.

“We found that all of the major tremors were clearly visible in a time perspective. The b-value dropped drastically before the big quakes,” says Leif Persson.

To find out where the b-value was geographically at its lowest, the scientists plotted circles containing 50 quakes each on a map. The result of the analysis was extremely clear. The epicenters of the major earthquakes were clearly marked on the map. A new quake that occurred outside Sumatra on March 28 this year also confirmed the researchers’ analyses.

“In other words it is possible to predict where and when an earthquake is going to occur by using methods previously used only to provide warnings about mining quakes. There is a tremendous amount of interest in our conclusions in the scientific community,” says Leif Persson.

Åsa Ivarsson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.foi.se

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute

nachricht Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>