MOSCOW, Aug 30So far, no country in the world has the technology for a short-term, within a few days, forecast of a devastating earthquake, despite the presence of more than 600 forerunners of tremors, said Candidate of Technical Sciences, Associate Professor, Leading Researcher at the All-Russian Research Institute for Civil Defense and emergency situations (VNII GOChS) Gennady Nigmetov.
“There is no technology in any country in the world that could predict the time, power and coordinates of an earthquake,” he said, adding that scientific work in this area is ongoing.
Nigmetov noted that at present it is possible to predict seismic events with a high degree of probability in the medium term (from several months) and in the long term (from a year or more ) perspective and only in stable seismic areas of the planet.
The interlocutor of the agency stressed that there are still several cases of short-term forecasts of strong earthquakes. One of them with a magnitude of more than 7 points occurred in 1975 in northeast China, where a short-term forecast was announced, and people were taken out of buildings in advance and settled in tents. According to rough estimates, this made it possible to reduce the number of victims by more than five times.
Nigmetov added that initially this short-term forecast was called into question. The decision to evacuate was confirmed by various harbingers that preceded the earthquake – unusual behavior of animals, changes in water levels in wells, recorded emissions of radon gas and others.
“In total, there are now more than 600 types of short-term precursors, but not always and not all of them manifest themselves. Therefore, having discovered the manifestation of one of the precursors, it is impossible to unequivocally and confidently assert that an earthquake is approaching,” the scientist emphasized.
He added that in his research, together with his colleagues, he studies and uses, for example, data on such precursors as a cloud portrait obtained from satellite images, a sharp 12-hour drop in atmospheric pressure and a change in water level.
Nigmetov noted that in order to assess the seismic activity of the territory, its preparation for a strong earthquake, it is necessary to conduct continuous comprehensive monitoring, evaluating the manifestations of the precursor parameters according to criteria that allow assessing the degree of danger.
“This is a costly and time-consuming process, but it can be automated by using computer programs to analyze monitoring data. All short-term forecasts must undergo an interdepartmental review of the Russian Expert Council for Earthquake Forecasting, Seismic Hazard and Risk Assessment,” the agency's interlocutor summed up.