Scientists use Gravity waves to detect earthquakes faster
Tracking minor changes in gravity when earthquake hits could buy us valuable life-saving minutes, according to a new study published in the journal Science.
Revisiting records from the large 2011 Japan earthquake, the researchers indicate that shifts in gravity should’ve instructed the people the scale of the quake three minutes after it started.
The findings come at the heels of a separate study, presented at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, that theorized that 2018 would see a surge in earthquakes, due to a slight slowing of the earth’s rotation. Previous research has proven that the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku quake that struck Japan in 2011 was powerful enough to barely change the affected area’s pull of gravity.
On the ground, where the gravitational shifts are barely noticeable, it took 3 hours for the Japan Meteorological Agency to gauge its true size, after initially estimating it to magnitude 7.9.
The new research shows gravity signals, travelling at more than 185,000 miles per second, were maximum obvious at monitoring stations between 1,000 and 2,000 km from the quake’s epicentre. At that speed, the signals had sufficient time to be recorded earlier than the seismic waves took over.
The Tohoku, Japan’s biggest recorded earthquake, event caused a tsunami that ended in over 15,000 deaths and brought on the Fukushima Daiichi power plant meltdown, the ongoing cleanup of that is predicted to take among 30 to 40 years.
Although we’re not closer to predicting earthquakes, the researchers claim that with revision their method must work for detecting quakes of magnitude 8.5 or greater, that is larger enough to generate measurable gravity signals.