By Andy Choi
The National Science Foundation, NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Department of Defense, have supported the development of the new Real-time Earthquake Analysis for Disaster (READI) Mitigation Network. Data from this network may help in declaring accurate tsunami warnings and providing rapid support to the affected people and areas.
Motorists who have GPS equipment on board can update their location constantly. This technology will be tested in the USA to locate and judge the magnitude of earthquakes. GPS measurements from around 500 stations in Washington, Oregon and California will be used as part of the test.
The READI network is developing real-time GPS technologies to further develop early warning disaster systems. A natural hazards capability for the Pacific basin around the 'Ring of Fire' is the aim of the program. GPS can be used for measuring ground deformation due to large earthquakes and this information can be used to lower the time necessary for locating and deducing the type of earthquakes.
In order to respond to tsunamis and strong earthquakes, quick and correct identification of the event is necessary. Information about the ground movements near an earthquake as well as its size is critical for calculating a tsunami’s strength. Using GPS, second-by-second measurements with high precision can help distinguish the type of earthquake and predict tsunamis with better accuracy. Conventional seismological instruments face difficulties when measuring large earthquakes, which can be overcome through the use of GPS.
The Department of Defense had created the GPS satellite system and NASA has supported the development of the global GPS signal receiving network. The EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory, the Bay Area Regional Deformation Array, the Pacific Northwest Geodetic Array, and the California Real-Time Network GPS stations are supported by the USGS, NASA and NSF.
The prototype network system is set to be tested this year to demonstrate its capabilities, and following that, the concerned natural hazard monitoring agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the USGS will make use of the network.