Low-pitched, rumbling rocks could help predict earthquakes, research says 科學家可望用石頭振動聲預測地震

Sun, Nov 05, 2017 - Page 9

Rocks under increasing pressure before earthquakes strike send out low-pitched rumbling sounds that the human ear cannot detect but could be used to predict when a tremor will strike, scientists said on Oct. 23.

Researchers recreated powerful earthquake forces in a laboratory and used high-tech algorithms to pick out the acoustic clues amid all the other noise of a pending quake, according to findings published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The sounds are emitted typically a week before an earthquake occurs, so deciphering them would allow scientists to pinpoint the timing of a tremor, the research paper said.

Scientists currently can calculate the probability of an earthquake in a particular area but not when it will happen, according to the US Geological Survey.

“People have said you can’t predict earthquakes. People have tried. We’re now saying we believe for the first time we can predict an earthquake in a laboratory,” said Colin Humphreys, professor of materials science at Cambridge University and one of the paper’s authors.

The acoustic clues had previously been detected by scientists but rejected as random noise, he said.

The experiment will be applied to quake-prone areas such as the San Andreas fault in California, he said.

(Reuters)

科學家上月二十三日指出,石頭在地震來襲前會發出人耳無法聽見的低頻振動,而這種聲音可能可以用來預測地震。

根據這項發表在《地球物理學研究論文》的研究,科學家在實驗室內模擬強震,並利用高科技演算法在各種噪音中判別地震前石頭所發出的低頻振動聲。

該研究指出,這種聲音通常在地震發生前一週出現,若科學家可成功判別,將可準確預測地震發生時間。

根據美國地質調查局,科學家目前已可計算特定地區的地震發生機率,但無法確知地震何時發生。

該研究的作者之一為劍橋大學的材料科學系教授柯林‧漢弗瑞。他說:「有人說預測地震是不可能的。以前也有人試過。但我們現在頭一次相信我們是能在實驗室裡預測地震的。」

他指出,科學家過去曾經判別出石頭在地震前發出的低頻振動聲,卻視之為無意義的噪音。

他並表示,該實驗將應用於地震常發生的地區,例如加州的聖安德列斯斷層。

(台北時報編譯涂宇安譯)