Quakefinder Blog

What does it take to make progress?

As I listen to the news regarding government gridlock over sequestration and recent USGS warnings about the number of deaths expected from earthquakes in the coming century, I am struck with the realization of how difficult it is to make progress, even in light of dire warnings about the consequences.

In the case of our national budget, it is extremely difficult to obtain consensus on what to do and how to fix it.  Yet everyone agrees that we need to make hard decisions regarding government spending. However, no one seems to want to take the first step and do something.

In the case of earthquakes, many agree that earthquakes will cause a large loss in life in the 21st century. What we don’t agree on is whether earthquakes could eventually be forecasted. Some say that it is, and will always be, impossible to predict earthquakes. How does society move from “Impossible” to “Plausible”, and finally to “Operational” earthquake forecasting?

Governments are notoriously slow in changing the “Status Quo”, or in trying something radically different. QuakeFinder represents a different model which was born from a strong curiosity and desire to try a new approach.

Can the complex environmental monitoring techniques that QuakeFinder developed be used to attack earthquake forecasting in a different way? A possible link to the discovery of a new charged particle (p-hole charge carrier) could explain many of the electromagnetic observations.  If magnetic field changes, air conductivity changes, Infra-red observations, and earthquake lights are signals then the goal is to develop instruments and networks to detect, record, observe, and exploit these signals. Incubation of this idea and the imperative to make progress requires money, in this case, money to build the instruments and networks to monitor the electromagnetic signals.

QuakeFinder operates as a humanitarian research project of Stellar Solutions, Inc., a global aerospace engineering firm.   Companies like the Musk Foundation, PG&E, Earth Networks, Telefonica, and Vodafone have supported QuakeFinder to make progress on earthquake forecasting. The government, via NASA Earth Science, has also contributed to the support of the research phase.  In addition, more than one hundred private homeowners have contributed by allowing QuakeFinder to install and operate instruments on their property. This collaboration represents actual progress.  We are excited about the progress our research is making and push forward, pioneering to the goal of an operational phase of earthquake forecasting.