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28.001 Earthquake waves with the speed of light

 

Der Standard
New method lets predict earthquakes earlier, 08.12.2017
derstandard.at, Earthquake waves with the speed of light

 

Seismology

New method lets predict earthquakes earlier

Researchers identify a possibility for the quicker analysis of strong earthquakes

Up to now one relied with the measuring of earthquakes on an analysis of the caused shockwaves. With seismographs were so even from great distances the strength of a quake measured, since the waves spread with up to ten kilometres per second.

However not always without false estimation: After the devastating Tohoku earthquake before the coast of Japan, which 2011 caused a tsunami and the reactor accident in Fukushima, the researchers came to a strength between 7.9 and 8.8 on the Richter scale and consequently clearly underestimated the real magnitude of 9.1.

Signals of gravity

Scientists around Martin Vallée of the Institute for Geophysics in Paris, investigated the seismographs used for this in China, South Korea and Mongolia and recognized a more reliable method: Tiny variations in the gravity field of the earth (caused through gravitation and other inertia effects on the earth) were already recorded minutes before the shockwaves. These waves even spread with the speed of light, as the research team reports in the specialist magazine "Science".

With this method better warnings for following events of severe earthquakes could result in future. Already a difference of few minutes can cause the timely closing of power stations or gas pipelines.

Abstract

Science: Observations and modeling of the elastogravity signals preceding direct seismic waves

 

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