Scientists forecast earthquakes in Costa Rica and may have found the key to determine when and where future earthquakes will happen.
According to a recent study, scientists forecast earthquakes in Costa Rica and have prevented a 7.6 magnitude earthquake from doing severe damage with their new advanced warning system. In September 2012, an earthquake in Nicoya Peninsula struck but left very little damage in its wake due to the warnings from scientists.
While some homes and schools near the epicenter were damaged, scientists were able to map out the extent and area in which an earthquake would occur. Geophysicist at the Georgia Institute of Technology and member of the study Andrew Newman told reporters:
“This is the first place where we’ve been able to map out the likely extent of an earthquake rupture along the subduction megathrust beforehand.”
While the Nicoya Peninsula is no stranger to earthquakes due to it being an area of subduction, scientists discovered that using GPS stations to monitor the earth’s movements allowed them to see the strain that was building along the fault line. Over the course of a 20 year period, scientists predicted that an earthquake above the magnitude of 7.0 would occur in the region. With that prediction in mind, efforts to increase awareness and building codes were made to prevent severe damage.
While the recent find is a step further into an early earthquake warning system, Newman tells reporters that more advancements are necessary before the GPS method becomes a standard practice:
“Nicoya is the only place on Earth where we’ve actually been able to get very accurate image of the locked patch because it occurs directly under land. If we want to understand the potential for large earthquakes, then we really need to start doing more seafloor observations.”
Scientists Forecast Earthquakes in Costa Rica Could Mean Knowing When and Where Earthquakes Will Happen.