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Machine Learning Can Predict the Evolution of an Earthquake Swarm

Will humanity ever be able to predict for sure on time when an earthquake will occur? Will scientists ever be able to announce the population several months or weeks before a major earthquake will shake their cities, so that they can find shelter? Such things may not be possible for the moment, but the good news is that scientists are still looking for ways to make them happen.

Researchers reported that circulating groundwater triggered a four-year-long swarm of little earthquakes that occurred at the Southern California town of Cahuilla.

Computers enter the scene

Computers operate pretty much everything nowadays, and now researchers had found a way to use them for recognizing faint quakes, and also to identify the probable culprit.

While seismic signals are frequently detected in tectonically active Southern California, the seismologist Zachary Ross of Caltech had been using that database with his colleagues for revealing millions of tiny earthquakes. Furthermore, the numerous quakes revealed by this machine learning technique could be used for creating high-resolution images of what dwells beneath the ground’s surface in a specific region. Such an amount of small quakes can be considered a swarm.

David Shelly,who is a U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist, declared:

“This one is particularly cool, because it’s [a] rare, slow-motion swarm,”

“Most might last a few days, weeks or months. This one lasted four years. Having it spread out in time like that gives a little more opportunity to examine some of the nuances of what’s going on.”

Shelly also says that combining the wealth of seismic data with machine learning means “the future of earthquake analysis.” Furthermore, learning as much as possible how to deal with earthquakes on Earth can only be beneficial to us all. There’s no solid reason that we will move to another planet in the near future, regardless of how much NASA or SpaceX wants to make us think otherwise.

The study paper was reported in Science.

Catherine Whitaker

Catherine has been an active participant and contributor for V Herald for quite some time. Being a tech lover and a part of a popular local NGO, she loves to jot down news articles for Technology and science niches.

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