The Nepal earthquake was measured by scientists as high as the upper atmosphere.
Waves of energy produced by the quake were so powerful they actually disturbed the upper atmosphere 60 miles above the earth’s surface. And scientists captured the action!
What all the geekspeak means is that the effect of earthquakes, tsunami and volcanos can be measured miles above the surface of the earth where the bad stuff happens. This helps scientists determine when the next big one will be.
Predicting disasters has never been an exact science. Anything but. Back in the dark days of the Indonesian quake in 2004 which triggered a very large 8.9 Magnitude quake and tsunami which was measured circling the globe three and a half times before it finally subsided, the first the scientists at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii knew about it was a bleep on their pagers to tell them it had already happened.
The system has become much more sophisticated now with the deployment of deep sea sensors around the Paciric Rim, along the West Coast of the US and deep below the surface of Indonesia and Japan’s troublesome coastlines. These sensors can measure a tsunami shockwave bulge on the surface a centimetre high from one mile down on the sea bed.
Scientists now study ionosphere-based measurements caused by natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis to better understand wave propagation in the upper atmosphere. The disturbances caused by earthquakes help scientists develop new first-principle-based wave propagation models. These models may become part of future early warning systems for tsunamis and other difficult-to-detect natural hazards.
To read more on this cutting-edge science click here.