December 10, 2011
by John Vidale
Reports of disturbances foreshadowing earthquakes are common, and have been disproven quickly in nearly all cases. However, one recent claim by Kosuke Heki survived the review process to appear in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, and even was featured in the linked research spotlight.
At the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco this week, at the end of the highlighted Bowie Lecture, Dr. Heki said it again and gave more details. Not only the deadly 2011 Tohoku earthquake, but also several other huge earthquakes appear to show more charged particles above the ground in the roughly one hour before the earthquakes struck. The signal for Japan was claimed to be local to the area of the Japanese earthquake, as indicated in this figure.
Another study claimed the ionospheric disturbance is just a solar storm, and it is global rather than local to part of Japan. And that the signals before most of the other large earthquakes are also solar storms. Which begs the question of whether solar storms might trigger earthquakes, a possibility considered even more unlikely by scientists.
How such a precursor might be generated is not known except in outlandish theories, and most scientists remain skeptical that the signal is real. However, the claim is specific and testable, so there is on the table a serious idea from a serious scientist for once in earthquake prediction.
- Large Mount Baker debris Avalanche this fall
- Speedy ETS in the works
- Peppy seismic swarm 20 km NW of Mount St Helens
- Glacier outburst flood on Mount Baker recorded by the PNSN
- Three new ways to view recent earthquakes in the Northwest
- M3.5 event west of Tacoma early Sunday morning
- Oregon ETS is over, but....
- Small swarm near Mount McLoughlin last night
- Earthquake early warning workshop quick report
- thePNSN Facebook discussions
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- The wech-o-meter takes over all of Cascadia
- Keystone Cops: Italy prosecutes seismologists for failure to predict deadly quake
- UFOs in eastern Washington? No, rather UTEs (Unidentified Terrestrial Events)
- New Sodo Seattle Liquefaction Array Installed
- Why we should constantly watch the deformation of the seafloor
- Mystery chirp near Newberry Volcano
- Planting seismographs causes earthquakes? or maybe ice-quakes?
- Tunneling rumbles south under Capitol Hill
- 15 years of mostly silent magma inflation near Three Sisters, Oregon
- Mount Hood earthquake swarm of Feb 23, 2012
- Web glitches: duplicate (and even triplicate!) earthquakes
- How earthquake magnitude scales work
- Mine blast masquerades as volcanic tremor
- The Spokane Swarm about 10 years ago
- Another hum around Mount St. Helens
- Slow slip: A new kind of earthquake under our feet
- PNSN and social media
- 3am M3.4 earthquake in St. Helens Seismic Zone
- The wrong kind of volcano noise
- Fast chatter on Rainier an hour ago
- Can slush-mageddon trigger earthquakes?
- Rainier Repeating Earthquakes Update and Comparison with Weather Patterns
- 22-minutes drumbeat icequakes(?)
- Mount Rainier popping away
- Repeating Earthquakes on Mount Rainier - are glaciers the culprit?
- Debunking another SEC football myth by the PAC-12
- One year ago, Seattle Seahawks 12th Man Earthquake
- The odds this year of a megaquake on the Pacific Northwest coast
- Is the plague of great earthquakes this decade a sign of increased danger?
- Nile Valley landslide talks to PNSN seismologists
- Good vs evil in central US earthquake hazard analysis
- Why does a volcano scream?
- Predicting big quakes from patterns of little ones
- 1-hour warning for Japanese M9 earthquake?
- Sound Transit train under Interlaken keeps a rollin'
- Invisible changes under the hood at the PNSN
- Sound Transit Tunneling Noise
- "Visionary" toads
- Earthquake early warning in the PNW
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