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Earthquake Hazards in the Dead Sea Area. Israeli Scientists take a Long-Term View

Scientists from the Soreq Nuclear Research Center, Geological Survey of Israel and Survey of Israel, and GEM professionals are collaborating on a long-term research project into earthquake hazards. The study is based on examination of results from GEM’s ultra-high sensitivity SuperGrad system and radon monitoring systems.

Discrimination of Sources

During the last few decades, many investigations have looked into the relation between seismic activity and anomalous behavior of the geomagnetic field. However, seismically related changes in the behavior of the Earth’s magnetic field are very often overlapped by diurnal variations of ionosphere and magnetosphere origin and sometimes by artificial field disturbances (from densely populated regions).

Scientists are looking into the solution of the origin discrimination problem by taking into account the difference in distance between observation point and field sources. This difference brings the opportunity for distinction of the source location on the base of field spatial structure analysis.

With the development of GEM’s new super-sensitive optically pumped Potassium gradiometer (shown above), there is now an opportunity for short-base gradiometer measurements with sub-pT resolution. The application of such a technique is intended to significantly suppress the external variations and thus give good grounds to filter out magnetic field changes that are not related to earthquake phenomena.

Integration of Radon Measurements

Since 1990, various studies have been performed to evaluate radon anomalies along the western shore of the Dead Sea. The results obtained show that correlation of Rn events with earthquakes in the nearby sectors of the Rift exceeds significantly the value expected for randomness. Moreover, the correlation improves for earthquake magnitudes > 2 and > 3 in the nearby sectors of the Rift. The establishment of this link between Rn events and earthquakes in a specific region is a contribution to the notion of using Rn monitoring as an earthquake precursor.

The scientists expect results of joint monitoring of geochemical (Rn) and geomagnetic parameters in the test site, analyzed together with the regional seismic data will enable them to obtain higher correlations between earthquakes and precursor phenomena.

Long-term Monitoring

To this end, they are carrying out long-term simultaneous measurements of Earth’s magnetic field gradient (difference) and Rn emanation in the Northwestern part of the Dead Sea Rift transform. This is the first time that combined radon and geomagnetic measurements have been conducted.

The ultimate goal is to integrate Rn stations and super-sensitive magnetic gradiometers into a multi-channel system for geophysical monitoring of active faults — an extremely attractive complementary approach to the problem of earthquake prediction.

For more information, interested readers may also want to refer to the following link.

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