GPR will help scientists to predict earthquakes

Scientists from Russia have successfully applied the methods of GPR to study the crustal faults, which are associated with dangerous earthquakes that will help us in future to predict their speedy start to the development of cataclysm.

This work is important from the point of view of the interpretation of GPR data and for studying the structure of fault zones, displacements which may cause landslides, landslides, soil liquefaction, sinkholes or subsidence. The more we know about the rift, the more accurate will be the forecast of possible tectonic deformation and the development of dangerous processes in its vicinity, — said Oksana Lunina, Institute of earth crust SB RAS.

Earthquakes and other dangerous disasters related to the Earth, most often occur at the boundaries of the faults between tectonic plates and movement, which often prevent the bumps on their edges. When the movement of the plates is stopped at the point of contact accumulates potential energy that can be released in the form of heat and powerful bursts of acoustic waves at the time when the rocks in these irregularities do not stand up and break.

Scientists have been trying to understand what processes control the accumulation of this energy and trying to find ways of x-raying the Earth so that we could learn about the appearance of such zones of tectonic stresses and would predict based on their properties probability, strength, and time of occurrence of new aftershocks.

Special hopes, as told by Lunin and her colleagues at the Institute, assigned to the so-called GPR-radar – GPR is able to Shine through the bowels of the Earth for several hundred meters or several kilometers. They define the structure of the rocks at great depths due to the fact that different types of minerals uniquely conduct electricity and radio waves and interact with them.

Russian scientists have tested whether it is possible to use them to monitor potential earthquake sources, to educate Medinskogo structure of the fault near the shores of lake Baikal, where in April 1950 earthquake. Then from concussions suffered greatly nearby village of Monda, many wooden houses were destroyed. Another strong earthquake happened here in 1829, whose strength was comparable to that event 1950.

Defining the position of the fault by means of satellites, Siberian geologists enlightened him with the help of GPR OKO-2, which was created in Russia. Collecting data for the structure using radar, scientists compared them with the information that was gathered during the drilling and excavations in different parts of the village of Monda.

Radar images showed that the rock layers in one area is moved relative to each other in unexpected long distance – 3.4 meters during the earthquake of 1950. On the other hand, in other regions, the fault behaved as predicted by the surface observation. It showed that radar observations can be used to monitor the state of the faults without resorting to expensive drilling projects of ditches and removing of rocks from great depths, which will improve our understanding of how earthquakes are born and how they can be predicted.

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