Do earthquakes provide any identifiable precursors? Recent research into thermal infrared and gamma radiation conducted by Lee Lou-chuang, acting director of Academia Sinica’s Institute of Earth Sciences and Minister of the National Science Council (NSC), may offer new clues for predicting earthquakes.
The NSC, the Central Weather Bureau and the National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering have teamed up in establishing the nation’s first Experimental Earthquake Prediction Observatory Park as part of the newly opened Eastern Taiwan Earthquake Research Center (E-TEC) at National Dong Hwa University. E-TEC convener Ma Kuo-fong says that he hopes earthquake prediction capabilities can be achieved as soon as possible in order to better meet disaster prevention needs.
Lee’s research found that prior to an earthquake, the formation of steam occurs, along with the release of radon and an increase in infrared rays, all of which are brought on by pressure from tectonic plates. On March 29 this year, Lee discovered that an unusual increase in infrared rays occurred in the ocean off the coast of Taitung, which was followed by an earthquake on March 31 with a magnitude of 6.2 on the Richter scale. Four earthquake detection stations are currently set up at National Chung Cheng University in Chiayi County, in Pingtung County’s Kenting area, on Yangming Mountain in Taipei and at Hualien’s Dong Hwa University.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)