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GPS to signal rapid tsunami warnings

Washington , Thu, 26 Apr 2012 ANI

Washington, Apr 26 (ANI): Using the high-precision analysis of GPS data from the Fukushima earthquake of 11 March 2011, scientists at the German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ believe the earthquake magnitude and the spatial distribution can be determined in just over three minutes, allowing for a rapid and detailed tsunami early warning.

The concern was drawn because of submarine earthquakes, which can generate tsunamis and for which the warning time for nearby coastal areas is very short.

The report reveals that one advantage of a GPS monitoring network in the vicinity of the epicentre is the availability of data shortly after the quake starts. Even as the earth shakes, the horizontal and vertical movements of the tectonic plates are observed. Along with gradually incoming seismic data, this leads to an image of the rupture process while it is still in progress

This result was presented by GFZ scientist Dr. Andrey Babeyko at this year's assembly of the EGU (European Geosciences Union) in Vienna.

"On the occasion of the Fukushima earthquake, we analysed data from more than 500 GPS stations and showed that a correct estimate of the magnitude of M = 9.0 and of the generated tsunami could have been possible in just three to four minutes after the earthquake," Dr. Babeyko was quoted, as saying.

The so-called GPS shield concept was initially developed for the tsunami early warning system GITEWS that the Helmholtz Association developed under the leadership of GFZ on behalf of the German Federal Government for Indonesia.

Dr. Babeyko explained, "The application on the data sets of the catastrophic earthquake of 11 March 2011 shows again what potential a GPS shield has in tsunami early warning systems. A GPS shield could be a useful tool for all regions with earthquake/tsunami risks." (ANI)


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