Ionosphere radar could predict volcanic eruptions
By means of a radar prototype a Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) in Manizales master’s student hopes to determine the behavior of the upper layer of the atmosphere (known as the ionosphere) before and after an earthquake. This could also contribute to predict volcanic eruptions of the Colombian Nevado del Ruiz volcano, among others.Manizales, 21 de junio de 2016 — Agencia de Noticias UN-
The data analyzed prior to the goal of designing the radar were focused on the earthquakes of Haiti, Samoa and Sichuan.
The model developed by UNal Industrial Automation master’s candidate and Electronic Engineer Sebastián Orjuela Rodríguez will be installed in a broadcasting station. It will also have an antenna to send signals to the ionosphere which will bounce back in different time periods and amounts.
“The signal will be received by the antenna and sent to a display and by charting the behavior, analyze how much the system was altered regarding weak positively-charged spheres (protons) with many negatively-charged particles (electrons),” said Orjuela.
The first stage of the research project was based on reviewing data provided by the Demeter satellite, thanks to access granted by the Centre national d'études spatiales (CNES) (National Center for Space Studies.) It also consisted of obtaining, filtering and processing data from 30 days prior and after the earthquakes occurred in Samoa, Haiti y Sichuan (China).
“We saw that when the atmosphere changes, the spheres vary in size. For instance in Samoa, days before the earthquake they compacted and at the exact moment of the quake they were at the maximum size and after they returned to their normal size,” said Orjuela.
According to the Orjuela, the studied magnetic and electric signals enabled them to infer the change in sphere diameter, which is the ratio between distance and time before and after the mentioned earthquakes.
“All these changes are conditioned to several parameters, including geographical location, earth gases and pollution,” said Orjuela who was advised by Professor Jorge Hernán Estrada.
In Colombia, the scope of this project lies in the probability of monitoring the seismic activity of the snow-capped mountains of Huila and Ruiz, as well as the Galeras, Machín and Cerro Bravo volcanoes, and benefits a population of approximately 3 million people which live in and around these areas.
“At the end what we are looking for is to characterize the data obtained and design a mathematical formula or equation that will help us predict these natural phenomena stemming from ionosphere electromagnetic indicators. Therefore we could predict the future of tectonic and volcanic faults,” said Orjuela.
In the future these results may be used to better manage threats in places near volcanoes and produce early alerts of imminent seismic events.(Por: Fin/IJR/MLA/APBL