Gravity signals traveling at the speed of light could warn of large earthquakes: SCIENCE: Tech Times –

Gravity signals traveling at the speed of light could warn of large earthquakes: SCIENCE: Tech Times


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A study found that rapid gravimetric waves can warn of large earthquakes. The detection of such waves could indicate destructive earthquakes of magnitude 8.5 or higher.
( Angelo Giordano | Pixabay )

A new study hypothesizes that monitoring changes in gravitational waves could help detect exceptionally large earthquakes. How can this help public authorities to respond better to earthquakes?

The problem with earthquakes

Earthquakes are one of the most destructive natural disasters that can occur. Compared to other destructive forces such as hurricanes and tornadoes, earthquakes can not be predicted accurately until the damage has already been done. This leaves the authorities and the public with almost no time to prepare, with relief operations as the only course of action after the earthquake.

However, a new study published in the journal Science details a possible method to detect large earthquakes by measuring the gravitational signals traveling through the ground. Compared to the measurement of seismic waves, gravitational signals travel at "the speed of light".

Gravitational waves to measure resistance to earthquakes

In 2011, seismometers in China and South Korea detected the signs of gravity immediately after the earthquake of magnitude 9.1 shook Japan. The signals arrived a minute before the seismic data was collected. In addition, because they were monitoring seismic waves and not gravity waves, the US Geological Survey. UU It took 40 minutes to determine an estimate of the magnitude of the earthquake, while the Japan Meteorological Society took 3 hours. [19659006] The current study suggests that if they had been looking at gravitational waves instead of seismic waves, they would have determined the force of the earthquake much faster and could have alerted authorities about the type of emergency response that should be taken.

However, problem with gravitational waves is that they are weaker than seismic waves. They are detectable in large earthquakes of magnitude 8.5 or even higher, which is a bit problematic in the practical sense because many destructive earthquakes fall below that range. In fact, the deadliest earthquake of 2017, which shook the border between Iran and Iraq and claimed 400 lives and injured more than 7,000 was of magnitude 7.3.

Crucial after the earthquake hours

The team is now looking for other gravitational waves detected after other major earthquakes such as the Sumatra earthquake in 2004 and the Chile earthquake in 2011. Although some believe that much work remains to be done To make this method a viable measure, other experts see it as an important contribution.

It will be a great contribution if the gravitational waves can exceed the time needed to know that a large earthquake is large, "says Susan Hough, a seismologist at the USGS in Pasadena, California.

Practically speaking, although the waves gravitational arrives a few minutes before Seismic waves, which have a faster means of measuring the intensity of the earthquake, could be a very important tool for public authorities to implement adequate rescue and relief operations at crucial times and even minutes later. The earthquake strikes, and since earthquakes are sometimes followed by tsunami events, a single minute of warning could save the lives of many people in coastal areas.

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