A long time ago, people inhabiting settlements at the boarder of Dykoye Pole (Wild Field) used to bury empty jugs into the ground: if they started buzzing this meant that a cavalry detachment was galloping across the steppe and it was time to escape to the outpost from the foray. Specialists of the Institute of Physics of the Earth, Russian Academy of Sciences, suggest a similar way for tracking oncoming natural disasters like earthquakes or catastrophic landslides.
“The main task of the forecast is to get a reliable warning about the time and place of a destructive event. The task can be simplified if the long-term observation location is chosen in advance – in that case the major effort can be focused on determination of time of disaster in that particular region. To this end, it is necessary to deploy the observation network within the bounds of a big town or in the vicinity of particularly important objects,” says Alexy Nikolayev, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. One of the observation methods applied may be the measurement of noise which occurs in the the interior of the Earth.
The history of the method dates back to slightly more than a century. In any case, at the end of the 19th century, De Rossi from Rome installed a microphone at the depth of 20 meters and discovered a multitude of various sounds. Sometimes they became unbearably loud, especially once, half an hour prior to an earthquake. Back in the 50s of the last century, Professor Rikitake from the Tokyo Earthquake Research Institute came to the conclusion that investigation of vibrations in the audio-frequency range might be useful for disaster forecasting. In Russia, research of the “Earth’s voice” started twenty years ago. In 1999-2000, researchers placed sensors in Obninsk, Kislovodsk and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski, the sensors being installed in deep boreholes (about one hundred meters deep), and since that time they have been accumulating statistics in order to later correlate parameters of sounds heard with certain events. Sometimes they manage to do that. Thus, the sensors in Kislovodsk proved that the noise produced by the interior of the Earth was evidently louder during massive bombing of Iraq in March 2003 than that after downfall of Bagdad and the campaign termination.
Sergey Komarov | alfa
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