Reading the New York Times this weekend, I came upon an article about a Bay Area company trying to predict earthquakes. Well, that requires a little data mining to find out what they are all about…
The company, Stellar Solutions has a project called QuakeFinders which involves installing 200 five-foot-tall sensors near fault lines to measure changes in underground magnetic fields and detect electrically charged particles in the air. The theory behind it is that changes in electromagnetic fields can foretell quakes. Now isn’t that interesting!?!?!
So why do geological scientists like U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) think about this idea?!? Well it turns out, that the science behind QuakeFinder is disputed. It appears that most seismologists dismiss it as a sham and that forecasting earthquakes is impossible. USGS, the main sponsor of most earthquake research, does not support quake-related studies of electromagnetic radiation because it has found them to be a scientific dead end.
As you might suspect, QuakeFinder has other thoughts. As reported by the company, QuakeFinder devices detected electromagnetic pulses that resembled those produced by lightning in the two weeks before an earthquake struck at Alum Rock near San Jose in 2007, he said, and charged air particles and infrared light were also detected. Similar observations by QuakeFinder preceded an earthquake in Peru last year.
It looks like this might be one of those cases of wait and see.
QuakeFinder is the world’s leading private research organization focused on creating a system for forecasting major earthquakes. Operating as a humanitarian R&D division of Stellar Solutions and funded by Stellar Solutions, by grants from NASA, subscriptions, and sponsorships from the public, QuakeFinder has developed the science, technology, infrastructure and expertise that are the foundation for a practical earthquake forecasting solution.