New tech may lead to quake prediction system
A team of scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif., have developed a new imaging technology that could one day lead to the prediction of earthquakes.
The new airborne radar-based mapping technology allows scientists to see earthquake images on the ground for the first time.
“Hurricane imaging has 40 years on us. In the 60’s they got the first satellite images of hurricanes. So now we’re in 2010 and we have the first airborne image of an earthquake,” said Andrea Donnellan, a geophysicist with the NASA lab.
Donnellan is part of the team developing the new imaging system. Donnellan said this is the beginning of studying earthquake fault systems, like weather prediction systems, which are mapped and studied.
The new earthquake maps show the deadly movement of the ground during the 7.2 magnitude quake that struck Baja, Calif., in early April.
The interferogram images, which are a photographic record of light interference patterns, shows colorful images of lines in undulating butterfly-patterned lines and dots in psychedelic colors. The maps were collected from a Gulfstream-III aircraft equipped with a radar antenna on it. The pilots had actually been making measurements over the area in southern California since the spring of 2009.
“So what we’ve done is we (flew over the) that same line after the April earthquake and looked at how the ground moved,” Donnellan said.