Scientists observes changes in Earth's surface movement months before big earthquakes

May 06, 2020

This is part of the results of a new investigation carried out by scientists from Germany, Chile and the United States, including the University of Concepción geologist Marcos Moreno Switt. This team investigated the signals that captured the movement of GNSS satellite navigation stations (GPS) before the major Maule earthquakes, magnitude 8.8, and Tohoku-oki, magnitude 9.0. Scientists report their work in the latest issue of the prestigious journal "Nature".

Asked about the implications of this study, Dr. Marcos Moreno, research from Universidad de Concepción, says: "Thanks to satellite data today we can identify with great precision how the Earth's surface deforms before major earthquakes. This allows us to identify the changes that may be related to the processes that trigger earthquakes. The vast majority of major earthquakes are likely to be accompanied by precursor activity, as had already been recorded before the Iquique earthquake in 2014, and now before the 2011 Japan and Maule earthquakes in 2010. Much remains to be understood. this pioneering activity, but it is a great advance to be able to detect these movements. This is the focus of our new RING 2020 PRECURSOR project, financed by Anid, in which we will integrate an interdisciplinary team of Chilean and foreign researchers to obtain more and better information on these processes "

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