It has been a long-time fantasy for seismologists for them to predict earthquakes before the grounds would start shaking. However, humanity has not come up with an effective and reliable solution just yet. Still, scientists are hard at work, in search of the answers.
So far, the scientific community has observed that most earthquakes happen instantaneously, with the exception of the strong ones. Earthquakes with higher magnitude last for minutes.
A new study published in the journal, Science Advances, explains the seemingly outward pattern that these earthquakes take. The scientists have observed that the magnitude of these earthquakes differs in the power of its opening. This means that the magnitude of the earthquake can only be "predicted" in 10 to 15 seconds after it started, long after it has begun.
Scientists have projected that a single digit increase in the magnitude only means that there is about 32 times more energy is released. This then results in a strong shaking of the ground which would lead to more devastating effects. A number of factors come into play to determine the hazard level of the earthquake, but even small increases in the magnitude could mean lives lost. The effects of the earthquake can translate from something damaging to massively catastrophic.
This new study confirms that if the magnitude of an earthquake can be predicted as early as ten seconds from when it started, a more rapid yet precise warning could be made available. Such is the importance of predicting an earthquake, that it means the difference between saving lives and hoping to.
Diego Melgar, An assistant professor from the University of Oregon, explained that this was not what they were after when they were doing the paper with co-author Gavin P. Hayes.
"Along the way we just stumbled upon the thought that was interesting," Melgar said. "It was a key moment to look into those frames that determine the future of an earthquake before it happens."
Meglar expressed his fascination that a pattern has emerged from archives that date back in the early 1990s. back then, various methods have been used to record the tremors.
The scientists later pointed out that their study encompasses large earthquakes with magnitudes seven or higher.
This idea may be in its primal form but it is definitely a good start of a series of researches and studies that could hopefully save lives in the future.