Close Window
Atmospheric Changes Prior to Japan Quake Revealed May 20, 2011
Atmospheric Infrared graphic
Infrared emissions from above the epicenter increased dramatically in the days before the devastating March 11 earthquake in Japan, scientists say.
Scientists say that the atmosphere above the epicenter of Japan’s catastrophic March 11 earthquake underwent significant changes prior to the tectonic thrust.

Preliminary studies of the phenomena by Chapman University researcher Dimitar Ouzounov and several international colleagues could offer insight into how to predict powerful earthquakes well before they strike.

Using satellite data, they studied atmospheric conditions during the days leading up to the quake.

They found a large increase in the concentration of electrons above northeastern Japan, which peaked three days prior to the quake.

March 8 also saw a rapid increase in infrared radiation above the future epicenter. Both atmospheric changes disappeared following the main 9.0 magnitude quake.

Similar phenomena have been detected prior to some other major earthquakes.

Graphic: Dimitar Ouzounov