It depends on what you mean by “predict.” Scientists can state with reasonable certainty than an earthquake of X magnitude will eventually strike a particular fault line or within a specific area, but the time window for such predictions can be very large (such as centuries). As yet there is no reliable technology that can forecast with dependable accuracy specifically when and where an earthquake will strike. Several methods have been studied, such as analysis of radon gas emissions, mathematical analysis of earthquake patterns, and a process called VAN which measures seismic electrical signals. Proponents of the latter method claim to be able to predict large quakes within 100 km of the epicenter and within about a 10-day time window. It is unclear whether the results stand up to scrutiny. Earthquake prediction is an attractive field for cranks and pseudoscientists, so all proposed methods should be subject to rigorous scientific testing before governments or communities rely on them to predict earthquakes.
In 2010, NASA scientists created a new form of imaging technology that is thought to one day be able to help predict earthquakes. The technology is an air-borne radar system that allows scientists to see the first images of earthquakes on the ground. The first images were captured by a Gulfstream aircraft equipped with radar antenna. The imaging currently shows tiny or large motions under the ground that couldn’t be seen by simply flying or walking over the moving area of land. The images are of course capturing this movement after it happens, but the hope is that eventually it will be developed to capture images that help to predict earthquakes. This is a long term project, of course, so right now the technology is being used to better equip earthquake prone areas with earthquake safe buildings and bridges, especially in areas that have not been as badly affected by earthquakes in the past, but which have recently seen earthquake action, such as Christchurch in New Zealand.
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