Quakefinder Blog

QuakeFinder Publishes Journal Paper

Congratulations to Karl, Dan, Laura and Tom for their recent publication of QF research in Earthquake Science!

“Identification and classification of transient pulses observed in magnetometer array data by time-domain principal component analysis filtering” is the first of three journal papers to be published describing our evolving techniques to understand and characterize electromagnetic signals from our magnetometer array. This particular research was performed in early 2016 and was our first attempt to identify classes of EM ‘pulses’ in our time series data. The 6.0 Napa quake on Aug 24th, 2014 around which QF had four stations, is used as the basis for these analyses. The technique described successfully identified solar activity and also a class of pulses we hypothesize to be earth-emitted. The results of this research helped guide our data science plan in 2016/17 during which we’ve developed additional techniques and tools. The 2nd paper, now in review for publication, describes this technique and the corresponding results. Stay tuned for great things from QF!

Remembering The Loma Prieta Earthquake

Remembering The Loma Prieta Earthquake

Twenty-eight years ago at 5:04 pm, a Magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck northern California. ‘The ‘Loma Prieta’ Earthquake, centered in the Nisene Marks State Park, caused significant damage to Santa Cruz County and as far north as Oakland. Game 3 of the 1989 World Series was just getting started when the temblor sent its P and S waves through the hosting city of San Francisco. This was the first earthquake to ever be broadcast live on television. Lasting approximately 15 seconds, the quake killed 63 and injured nearly 4000 people. Most of the deaths resulted from the collapse of the Nimitz Freeway in Oakland.

Days later, Antony Fraser-Smith, a researcher at Stanford University performing Ultra Low Frequency work for the U.S. Navy, traveled to Santa Cruz county to collect his monitoring equipment which happened to be just miles from the epicenter. Upon review of his recorded data, he noticed anomalous behavior in the days and hours leading up to the quake. Following months of electromagnetically calm data, his instrument had suddenly picked up signals that ‘saturated’ the measurement system.

Past research in Greece, China and Russia had focused on electromagnetic phenomenon as earthquake precursors but the results had been inconclusive. In the decade after Loma Prieta, Fraser-Smith encountered tremendous head-wind from the established earthquake community in his attempts to further study and publish EM-related research. This respected Stanford electrical engineering professor and researcher was an outsider and unprepared for the earthquake-prediction antibodies entrenched in the halls of the U.S. government. Having been swindled by alleged collaborators and publicly accused of falsifying his data, he eventually gave up the campaign in disgust. Scientific change is difficult.

Since 2005, QuakeFinder has taken the helm having deployed 170 remote instruments (similar to Fraser-Smith’s) and collecting/storing data from earthquake-prone countries. With over 1000 earthquakes captured in our database, QuakeFinder is now focused on data science attempting to uncover the precursory behavior ahead of earthquakes as seen by Fraser-Smith. Our results to date indicate a strong statistical correlation between anomalous EM signals and earthquakes. Antony remains a QuakeFinder friend and inspiration. Our mission is to save lives by forecasting earthquakes..and validate his earlier findings!

QuakeFinder 3rd Quarter Newsletter

History of Hurricane Forecasting, Part 1.

This newsletter is a continuation of our series of studies into the history of weather and natural disaster forecasting. The intent of these studies is to understand the pioneering efforts of those who brought us these capabilities, the often-messy process of discovery, the societal reaction and impacts of forecasting, the resistance of establishment naysayers, and all the setbacks and triumphs along the way. QuakeFinder seeks to enable an earthquake forecasting system and gathering these lessons-learned from history will help guide us on our quest. The following article is a look into the early history of hurricane forecasting.

Do you know the first recorded hurricane forecast was made by Christopher Columbus? Within 10 years after the discovery of the New World, he had made four cross-Atlantic exploration journeys and as a result had gained unique experience in tropical Atlantic weather. While 15th century sailors knew of gale force storms in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, those 100 mph winds were nothing compared to the 150+ mph wind storms of the Caribbean. Columbus knew first hand the power of the ‘tempest’ storms having lost 2 of his 3 ships near Hispaniola (modern-day Haiti &Dominican Republic) during his second voyage. And he knew some of the early warning signs – a brick-red horizon, shifting winds and a rising swell. On his fourth trip in 1502 before a planned return to Spain, he warned the ruling Governor (and rival for the Queen’s attention) of an approaching large storm from the southeast. The fleet of 30 ships ignored the warning and set sail while Columbus and his four ships sheltered on the west side of the island. Two days later the hurricane hit and sunk 21 of the traversing vessels killing over 500 sailors. Columbus’ ships were unharmed.

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QuakeFinder 2nd Quarter 2017 Newsletter – Simultaneity

Simultaneity [sahy-muh - tuh-nee-i-tee]
1. the relation between two or more events happening at the same time

On April 24th, 2017 at 6:39 pm, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck 22 miles off the coast of Chile just west of the port city Valparaiso. Valparaiso, known by sailors as “little San Francisco”, is the 2nd largest metropolitan city in Chile with a population slightly over 800,000. For a city already jumpy being just miles from the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’ fault line, the tsunami alarm issued minutes after the quake sent thousands onto congested evacuation routes…. Read more