Early Warning For Earthquakes

Teasing out the physics behind radio anomalies

3 min read

Spooky lights in the night sky, a low burbling of radio noise, odd bright patches in infrared satellite images.... Harbingers of an alien invasion? Actually, no. Some geologists think they are indications of an impending earthquake and perhaps the only hope of ever predicting a quake in the hours or days before it strikes.

Although evidence that electro­magnetic events precede quakes is mounting quickly, the main theory to explain that evidence has had a gash in it the size of the San Andreas Fault. Now, NASA scientist Friedemann Freund, a faculty member at San Jose State University, in California, may have filled the gap by demonstrating in the laboratory how the earth’s crust can act as a gigantic battery to drive a geological radio circuit that extends more than 30 kilometers below the ground.

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This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

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