GPS Saves the World: Scientists Discover New Earthquake Prediction Method
Seismologists have discovered that GPS can predict earthquakes.
Seismologists from the University of Côte d’Azur discovered potentially accurate method for earthquake prediction. Kentin Bléterie and Jean-Mathieu Noquet examined GPS data collected during the pre-earthquake period before events of magnitude 7 and above. The scientists’ work was also reported by Roland Bürgmann of the University of California at Berkeley in an article for the journal Science.
For a long time, scientists have been looking for ways to predict earthquakes so that people can react in advance. Even a few minutes of warning can save lives by allowing people to leave buildings that could collapse. However, the search for “predecessors” of earthquakes has always been a difficult task due to the lack of information about what happened at the epicenter before the earthquake.
Blethery and Noke found a way to recover this information. The researchers studied precise GPS data for geographic areas around the epicenters of 90 earthquakes of magnitude greater than 7 in recent years. They found a common pattern – displacement between tectonic plates, which caused the earth’s surface to move in a measurable horizontal direction.
This shift can be seen and measured using GPS. It occurred two hours before the earthquake and was too small to be recorded by standard seismographs. It is important to note that such a shift was observed in all studied earthquakes.
The study hints at the possibility of building a reliable earthquake prediction system based on an accurate GPS system. However, Bürgmann notes that further work is needed to confirm the effectiveness of such a precursor in all, or at least most large earthquakes. In addition, improvements are needed in GPS technology to track individual events around the clock.