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HomeNewsThe Importance of Real Time Monitorization of Foreshocks and Aftershocks

The Importance of Real Time Monitorization of Foreshocks and Aftershocks

Earthquakes are some of the most destructive natural phenomena which can take place.

The damage caused by wide-scale earthquakes has been documented well in the past, but the initial earthquake is often accompanied by foreshocks and aftershocks. In some cases, people will believe that the worst part is over, only to learn that what seemed to be an earthquake was a mere shock, with the main one arriving later.

At this point, researchers can use empirical data obtained from statistical compilations to anticipate if the aftershocks will be weaker in comparison to the major earthquake, or if the event which follows a foreshock has a chance to be stronger.

A new study elaborated by a team of researchers aims to explore how aftershocks are distributed in the case of recent earthquake sequences. It is thought that the data obtained could allow researchers to decide if a sequence that is picked up by seismographs is, in fact, a decaying aftershock or an incoming foreshock, which signals the arrival of a bigger event.

Previous studies have tried to develop systems that are easy to use but powerful enough to allow researchers to make an accurate prediction. For example, a study published in 2014 observed seismic activity in Japan and compared the data with special aftershock sequences models, which were created with the help of advanced computer programs.

One of the challenges posed by using that method stems from the fact that researchers have to process and compare a large amount of data with information present in both real and synthetic catalogs.  Most properties tend to be similar among both types of catalogues, but there are some differences in the case of the speed, magnitude and spatial convergence of the events.

The system is still in the early stages of development, but it could pave the way towards improved countermeasures, which could save lives. More data can be found in the study, which was published in a scientific journal.

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