Not so long ago it would have seemed strange to turn our gaze toward the heavens to decipher what might be going on beneath the surface of the earth. No more, however, as a growing number of scientists are recognizing – and speaking out – about peculiar anomalies in the upper atmosphere in the days before major earthquakes.
These changes in the ionosphere lie at the heart of Earthquake Warnings Inc.’s QuakeCasts earthquake forecasting system, so we are understandably heartened to see that other geophysicists, seismologists and researchers are seeing the same thing. Indeed, research is beginning to confirm similar such ionospheric perturbations before recent large earthquakes in Chile, Taiwan, and Alaska.
The latest to confirm such peculiar atmospheric changes is NASA Goddard’s Dimitar Ouzounov, who recently reported that the Total Electron Count (TEC) of the ionosphere intensified dramatically in the days before Japan’s devastating megathrust earthquake. The March 11 earthquake registered 9 on the Richter scale and sent a massive tsunami crashing ashore, leaving nearly 30,000 dead or missing.
For obvious reasons, such telltale signs are of immense interest (or should be) to seismologists everywhere, particularly at a time when global seismic volatility appears to be on the upswing. Had Japan been forewarned of the likelihood of a major quake prior to March 11, perhaps many lives could have been spared as precautions were taken and coastal regions like those inundated by the tsunami were evacuated?
Ouzounov and his team also detected higher atmospheric temperatures over Japan, a logical effect of the increased TEC counts which, through a complex physical process, generate heat. Although Ouzounov believes massive tectonic pressures squeezed out radon gas sufficient to create the ionospheric changes – a point of dispute with other physicists – what does not appear to be up for debate are the ionospheric anomalies themselves.
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