Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Remote Sensing Technique to Predict Earthquakes

Alonso Arellano, a Professor from the Department of Mining Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH), along with Guillermo Sanchez Arellano, has developed a new approach to analyse geotectonic activity through the study of remote sensing satellite images. The new approach considers the tension in the earth's crust, reflected on the surface of the Earth in the form of alignments. Studies of the temporal variation of these alignments identify changes in the tension of the crust.

Andrea and Cristián have substantially improved an algorithm proposed by Zlatopolsky for the detection of these alignments. However, this programme has some drawbacks such as: the stiffness of the parameters, the need to implement other programmes for the collection and analysis of results and defects in extracting directional alignments.

The new image processing programme in the USACH performed by the Matlab programming language, has proved highly effective for studying the accumulation of stress in the crust prior to major earthquakes. This has been achieved through the observation of the variation in the density and orientation of the alignments observed in the sequence of satellite images Terra (Aster) for months before and after the event. The development of the thesis has enabled the undergraduates of USACH to actively participate in cutting-edge research worldwide.

Arellano, Doctor of Science in Engineering from Moscow State University of Geodesy and Cartography, working since 2004 with satellite images of earthquake precursors. During these years, eleven earthquakes of magnitude greater than five points (Richter scale) have been studied, confirming the hypothesis that through analysis of satellite images and other mechanisms, can predict earthquakes.

[via1, via2]


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