Japanese scientists are looking for hard to detect ‘silent quakes’ in the hope of predicting larger ones
Japanese researchers have devised a new tool to detect “silent earthquakes” – small tectonic slips that do not cause vibrations or vibrations – hoping to predict larger earthquakes
- Scientists from the University of Tokyo collaborated with the Japanese Coast Guard
- They came up with a new system to check the ocean for small tectonic slip
- The slipping, sometimes called “silent earthquakes,” could predict larger earthquakes
In an effort to better predict large earthquakes, a team of researchers from the University of Tokyo and the Japan Coast Guard have developed a new way to follow smaller “silent earthquakes” below the ocean floor.
The team’s new new surveillance technology combines data collected from satellites and coast guard survey vessels in a system called Global Navigation Satellite System-Acoustic ranging (GNSS-A).
The satellites measure the movements of the ocean surface, while the coast guard vessels use an acoustically varying system that can follow deformations on the ocean floor as small as two centimeters.
A team of researchers from the University of Tokyo and the Japanese Coast Guard have developed a new system for detecting “silent earthquakes,” or small tectonic shifts below the earth’s surface that do not cause detectable vibrations, but may be signs of a future earthquake
The researchers used the GNSS-A system to analyze data collected around the Nankai Trough between 2006 and 2018, about 30 miles off the coast of southern Japan.
They found several “slow slip” events at seven different locations along the trough, measured from two to three centimeters.
These slips occur when two tectonic plates move against each other without causing perceptible vibrations.
They often occur below the earth’s surface, at a depth of up to 40 miles.
These slips are most common near the core of the earth, where tectonic plates and become heated by magma and become flexible, causing them to slide against each other without direct effect.
The relationship between these many small slips and large earthquakes remains unclear, but the Tokyo researchers hope that their newly collected data will provide means to connect the dots.
The Nnakai trough (pictured above) is a large area off the coast of southern Japan, and where the researchers found seven different locations where “silent earthquakes” took place
“Differences in characteristics between these regions may be related to the earthquake history and reflect different frictional conditions,” Dr. told. Yusuke Yokota from the University of Tokyo. Phys.org.
“Detailed understanding of these frictional conditions and how they are spatially related to megathrust earthquake events is essential for accurate earthquake simulation.”
“Therefore, studying these newly discovered slow-slip events in the Nankai trough will contribute to earthquake prevention and preparedness.”
Some have speculated that the 2011 tsunami that devastated Japan after an earthquake in the Nankai trough could have been linked to several smaller slips that preceded it.
A major earthquake in the Nankai trough in 2011 caused the tsunami that devastated Japan and caused the collapse of a nuclear power plant in Fukushima
Last year, a report from the South China Morning Post documented the discovery of about 20 dead dwarfish floats on the ocean surface prior to the 2011 earthquake caused by smaller missteps.
Oarfish is a long and silvery deep-sea fish that usually lives at a depth of around 3000 feet and is rarely seen on the surface.
When pressure is built up between tectonic plates under the seabed, this can cause an electrostatic charge to be released.
According to one theory, small slips release that electrostatic charge that can kill marine life such as the coward.