To predict when earthquakes are likely to occur, seismologists often use statistics to monitor how clusters of seismic activity will develop over time. However, this approach often fails to anticipate the time and magnitude of large-scale earthquakes, leading to dangerous oversights in current early warning systems. Studies outside the realm of seismology have suggested for decades that these large, potentially devastating seismic events are related to a range of non-seismic phenomena that can be observed days or even weeks before these large earthquakes occur. So far, however, this idea has not caught on in the broader scientific community. In this special edition EPJ special topics proposes the Global Earthquake Forecasting System (GEFS): the first joint initiative by multidisciplinary researchers studying a variety of non-seismic precursors.
By promoting the integration of these ideas into existing theories in seismology, GEFS could lead to significant improvements in earthquake early warning systems. potentially saving lives and protecting critical infrastructure in the event of future disasters. The initiative is streamlined by a subtle, defect-based atomic-level mechanism to explain a variety of precursors to earthquakes, building on decades of laboratory experiments in physical chemistry and solid state physics. The theory suggests that when stresses build up in tectonic plates, electron-hole pairs are created in the earth's crust prior to seismic activity. The electrons are confined to the contaminated rocks, but the positively charged holes flow into the surrounding, less contaminated rocks, creating electrical currents that can travel over great distances. These currents in turn can trigger far-reaching secondary effects ranging from unusually low to ultra-low electromagnetic radiation, from emissions of spectroscopically different thermal infrared from the earth's surface to changes in the atmosphere and the ionosphere.
This special edition documents the findings of researchers around the world who have used both ground-based and space-based observations to link these non-seismic patterns to the occurrence of subsequent large earthquakes. The work provides a strong rationale for global efforts to continuously monitor Earth for key signs of these precursors, which are often intermittent and faint. If its goals are achieved, GEFS could be the first step in a broader collaboration between diverse scientific communities with the common goal of improving our ability to predict major earthquakes in the future.
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Source of the story:
- D. Sornette, G. Ouillon, A. Mignan, F. Freund. Preface to the special edition of the Global Earthquake Forecasting System (GEFS): On the way to using non-seismic precursors for predicting large earthquakes. The special topics of the European Physical Journal2021; 230 (1): 1 DOI: 10.1140 / epjst / e2020-000242-4
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Jumper. "GEFS: Searching for Earthquake Precursors Beyond Seismology." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, January 25, 2021.
Jumper. (2021, January 25th). GEFS: Search beyond seismology for earthquake precursors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2021 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/01/210125112305.htm
Jumper. "GEFS: Searching for Earthquake Precursors Beyond Seismology." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/01/210125112305.htm (accessed January 25, 2021).