QuakeFinder has declared that it is planning to undertake a major expansion of its Earthquake sensor network comprising over 60 instruments.
The instruments are capable of detecting electromagnetic signals that come before earthquakes. They are located mostly in California and a few smaller installations internationally. The expansion would take the number of locations in California to 65, while replacing 20 old instruments and also adding 10 new instruments.
New instruments will also be installed near existing sites in Taiwan and Peru, and thus introduce the network into regions such as Chile, Turkey and Greece that lack such sensors.
Tom Bleier, Vice President and Manager of humanitarian research at Stellar Solutions, which is the parent company of QuakeFinder, revealed that analyzing the data, which has been collected before and in the middle of earthquakes, is probably the only method of increasing confidence in the ability to identify the likelihood of an impending earthquake. According to him, this can be possible only if more and more data was obtained from more sensors in places, which are potential earthquake sites.
QuakeFinder had decided to speed up its mission of saving lives by predicting major earthquakes in late 2010, by creating and installing several new sensors rapidly. By the beginning of 2011, the company had finished developing a new low-cost instrument, consisting of high precision instruments with solar or battery power supply, which would lead to speedier and more flexibility in increasing the rate of network expansion and also reducing the costs.
The research’s focus was on electromagnetic signals, which have been proved to exist when rocks are undergoing extreme pressure. This was a theory developed by Dr. Friedemann Freund at NASA Ames. This theory was confirmed in both field and laboratory experiments. Data has been recorded by QuakeFinder before, during and in the aftermath of major earthquakes and proved that the signals were very similar and akin to those seen in the experiments carried out in the field and in the laboratory. The results have been made available in scientific journals.
So far, QuakeFinder is still unable to predict the onset of earthquakes. This network expansion would augment the body of evidence available for the detected precursor signal signature, and would also allow added refinement in the methods of data interpretation. The group aims to develop a strong and vigorous system, which would give out warnings days or weeks before the onset of major earthquakes.