The Jerusalem Post stated that scientists at Israel’s Ariel University have created a technique that can aid in the prediction of significant earthquakes up to 48 hours in advance.
The mantle and crust of the Earth make up the land mass on our planet. These layers, however, are not uniform; they are composed of a number of fragments that are slowly moving and occasionally colliding. An earthquake can happen when these fragments, known as tectonic plates, move past or collide with another plate.
Are earthquakes predictable?
The effect on human life can be severe depending on the magnitude of the earthquake. Stronger earthquakes can turn buildings into rubble in a matter of seconds and stop life in its tracks, whereas moderate earthquakes can merely send a few shockwaves into the ground. More than 1,000 people are thought to have died and several others were injured in an earthquake of magnitude 5.9 that struck eastern Afghanistan last month. Therefore, knowing when an earthquake is likely to occur would be very helpful.
Geologists have not been able to anticipate the occurrence of earthquakes, despite the technology being available on the ground to record the earthquake’s intensity and pinpoint the precise spot where the plates collided to generate the quake.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) website states that geologists have employed a variety of techniques to anticipate earthquakes and can precisely predict whether or not a tectonic plate will experience an earthquake in the future. They are unable to assign a precise time or date to their forecast, though.
In what manner did the Israeli researchers make their claim?
The Israeli researchers made their predictions by looking to the skies rather than ground-based sensors. The researchers predicted the earthquake by mapping the total electron content of the ionosphere—the top layer of the atmosphere—to the GPS data using the support vector machine (SVM) algorithm.
Nearly all types of rocks on the surface of the Earth activate positive holes that can carry and generate electric currents when under stress, according to a study that was published in the journal Remote Sensing. Charged ions also gather close to the stressed rocks as these charge carriers build up on the Earth’s surface, which causes the current to flow outward and eventually be carried into the ionosphere, where it may be measured.
In their publication, the researchers assert that their system can reliably predict the occurrence of a significant earthquake up to 48 hours in advance. Any earthquake with a magnitude of 6 or higher is considered to be a major earthquake according to the researchers. According to the JP report, the researchers could also forecast with an accuracy of 87.5 percent when an earthquake is not likely to happen.