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With news today of an earthquake in Mexico (because TDG admin RPJ didn’t have enough to worry about already), it’s worth checking out this recent news item on early earthquake detection, written by researcher Friedemann Freund. The SETI Institute researcher points out that ELF/ULF (Extremely/Ultra Low Frequency) emissions may provide the key to an early warning system which could save countless lives:

The moderate Alum Rock earthquake, magnitude 5.4, rattled the southern San Francisco Bay in late 2007. For those who experienced it at close quarters, it was a brief, hard jolt. Overall this event was unremarkable – except that one of QuakeFinder’s CalMagNet stations, which are spread over California along the San Andreas Fault, was barely 2 km from the epicenter.

A new paper, just published by “Natural Hazards and Earth System Science,” describes that three suspected pre-earthquake indicators were recorded by this QuakeFinder station: (i) short bursts of electromagnetic radiation, 10-30 sec long, increasing in number over the last two weeks before the quake, (ii) a 14-hours long episode of intense air ionization on the day before the earthquake, and (iii) a continuous wave of ULF magnetic pulsations, lasting for nearly 1 hour during the time of the most intense air ionization. In addition, satellites picked up enhanced infrared radiation emitted from several areas around the earthquake site. Together these observations make a strong case that they are all related to this earthquake BEFORE it struck.

With observations like these the future for earthquake early warning looks bright. Once the basic physical processes are understood, we can bring to bear many different techniques, both space-bound and on the ground, each capable of providing a different piece of the puzzle.

There’s a long history of (mostly neglected) research into these ideas, particularly on the topic of ‘earthquake lights’ (almost considered a paranormal topic by some scientists it seems, and, ironically, sometimes used to explain paranormal phenomena).

Funnily enough, it’s a research topic that has also been touched on (tangentially) in both Darklore 2 (in “The Fog”, by The Emperor), and Darklore 3 (“Shaking Stars”, by Geoff Falla). Luckily for the casual reader, both articles are available at the Darklore website as free sample articles (in PDF format). For those that prefer to read on paper, go pick up Darklore 2 or Darklore 3 (either the Limited Edition Hardcover or the
paperback edition.