Electromagnetic Sensors Developer QuakeFinder Analyzes Seismic Actions

Scientists from the Palo Alto, California-based humanitarian R&D organization QuakeFinder have commenced the collection of vital clues immediately after the occurrence of an earthquake of 6.2 magnitude at Tacna, Peru on May 5, 2010.

These clues are likely to support their research initiatives. This organization is focusing on the methodical development and expansion of an international electromagnetic sensors network and gathering data for understanding the happenings in the crust of the Earth during the earlier days leading to the seismic action.

The organization had earlier detected a strange range of magnetic pulses commencing two weeks before the M5.4 earthquake at Alum Rock, California in 2007. They analyzed a sample from this quake and published the results in the journal of Natural Hazards and Earth Science Systems. It has been looking for other examples similar to pre-quake signals including the recent earthquake at Tacna.

Its fast expanding network now has more than 60 working sites in California itself and an increasing roster of international collaborations. It has a joint collaboration with the Lima, Peru-based Catholic University that had led to the installation of two ultra low frequency (ULF) type of magnetometer instruments in regions were Peruvian scientists are worried that a major earthquake could take place during the next few years. One such earthquake site near Tacna is located within a distance of 25 km of the location of the May earthquake.

The plan to gather ULF magnetic pulses that was discovered near strike slip earthquakes, where lethal fractures occur in the US will also be capable of determining if a similar phenomenon occurs near subduction earthquakes that involve sliding of one tectonic plate under another. The earthquake’s data has shown that the determination of the magnitude, time and location of the earthquake is possible through air conductivity increases and ULF magnetic pulses.

An increase in sensor network density is required for confirming the findings. This will enable gathering and analysis of additional earthquake events for finding out repeatable patterns. In a revolutionary approach for the network expansion, QuakeFinder has invited governments, businesses and private individuals to host or sponsor sites.

QuakeFinder’s head Tom Bleier informed that his company’s theory that electromagnetic signals may occur in sequence about two weeks before major earthquakes is supported by the data gathered. He added that this research is important for life saving applications.

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