Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Seismic Slowdowns Could Warn of Impending Earthquakes


An "earthquake machine" in the lab is helping scientists understand what goes on just before a quake

Predicting earthquakes before they happen is the Holy Grail of seismology. If we knew where and when a catastrophic temblor was about to hit, we could evacuate people, turn off gas lines, and shore up infrastructure to protect lives and homes. Unfortunately, like the Holy Grail, earthquake prediction is largely considered a myth—famously called the realm of "fools and charlatans" by seismologist Charles Richter, the man behind the Richter scale.
But now, new research hints that fault zones getting ready to rumble might indeed undergo physical changes that telegraph a quake.
Marco Scuderi, a postdoctoral fellow at Sapienza University of Rome, discovered that he could detect these changes by shooting seismic waves through a laboratory earthquake model. Coupled with real-world analyses of fault zones, this model suggests that monitoring active faults in real time might help scientists develop early warning systems, and maybe even someday forecast devastating quakes before they’ve started. Scuderi and his colleagues published their findings in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Jean-Paul Ampuero, a seismologist at the California Institute of Technology who was not involved in the study, called the study thorough and the results promising. “We need to explore the implications it has on our capability of measuring these precursors before a large earthquake,” he says.

You may also like:

No comments :

Post a Comment