Earthquake Signal Precursors (ESP)

Partners include: NASA Ames Research Center, Politecnico di Milano, International Centre for Earth Simulation, European Space Agency, GeoCosmo Science Research Center, Alaska Statewide School Districts

The Earthquake Signal Precursors is a revolutionary initiative that will add to the field of earthquake science by building a coherent system monitoring earthquake precursor signals and thereby identify the increasing risk of an earthquake. This monitoring system is also able to identify the actual focal point of the increasing energy buildup preceding an earthquake. Click here to access the live ESP site

It will also be a cornerstone for broadcast of the increasing risk so that society can better prepare for the event with an advance warning. This will allow the community, major industry, transportation systems and other sensitive infrastructure, the opportunity to take preparatory measures. The current work continually monitors earthquake precursor signals and for known correlation between these signals and actual seismic events.

The Trillium Learning - A World Bridge® program (AWB), enables high-school and undergraduate students to pursue real-time, real-world, scientific research projects. Trillium is responsible for developing this research, along with project-based learning pedagogy utilized for professional development.

The Earthquake Signal Precursors project, ESP, is advancing the hardware and software technology necessary to measure earthquake precursor phenomena. These activities are based on and aligned with NASA research. The purpose is to develop an accurate forecast system for an impending earthquake. This research involves measuring signature perturbations to the magnetic field that occur several hours preceding the earthquake.

Background Vectors

Previously we had established nine (9) magnetic field monitoring stations. Four (4) of these were designed and built by the international award-winning Kodiak, Alaska AWB High School team. These state-of-the-art monitoring stations continuously measure and record, at 50Hz, the orientation (x-y-z) and strength (gauss) of the magnetic field, for the exclusive purpose of detecting magnetic field anomalies. These short-lived but dramatic phenomena are generated several hours to a few days prior to the earthquake. The historical record clearly reveals these signature anomalies preceding an earthquake. Beginning in 2019, based on NASA Ames Research Center science, students re-designed, built and deployed four new networked earthquake-precursor monitoring stations in the San Jose area. Breakthrough results have been collected and have detected earthquake signal precursors from hours to days prior to an actual seismic event. Proof of concept requires more stations in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, near the San Andreas and Hayward-Calaveras faults. If the initial results prove viable, life-saving benefits to seismically-vulnerable communities will be immeasurable.


Download the ESP Anomalies Report 14Dec20

Download the ESP Anomalies Report 2016

3 Vectors

The Earthquake Signal Precursors – a nascent international network is now under development by partners in research, industry and education, including:

NASA Ames Research Center

Trillium Learning, USA

GeoCosmo Science Research Center

Politecnico di Milano, Italy

International Centre for Earth Simulation, Geneva, Switzerland

Trilogis SRI, Trento, Italy

Tectonic plate rocks under stress behave like batteries producing measurable electrical currents deep under earth’s crust. Multi-modal measurements include:

  • Positive-charged ions
  • Infrared waves
  • Radio frequency disturbance
Anomaly Page

When rocks are stressed, atomic-level defects in the mineral grains and along grain boundaries become activated. They generate electronic charge carriers, electrons and holes, of which the holes, called "positive holes", have the amazing ability to flow out of the stressed rock volume. They flow through less or unstressed rocks, easily traversing kilometers, even tens of kilometers, causing a variety of secondary reactions along the way. These signals may be detected by various sensors.

The signature nature of these magnetic field anomalies is the orientation of the x-y-z vector, which consistently points directly at the source of the earthquake. Our research now is to build algorithms, based on machine learning, that will allow us to predict not only the increasing risk for an earthquake several hours before the event, but also its location.

Research by Dr. Friedemann Freund, a NASA research scientist, has identified several anomalous and measurable phenomena, generated as a result of Earth’s extraordinary energy build-up, in the hours preceding the sudden release which causes the earthquake. Similar to your body experiencing a rise in temperature preceding an impending illness, the massive buildup of energy at the earthquake’s focal point, initiates short-lived energy spikes that significantly disrupt the Earth’s magnetic field. By careful monitoring of these earthquake precursor anomalies, we can see an earthquake coming. This will allow us to inform local communities of the increasing risk for an impending earthquake, thus saving lives, recovery time, and extraordinary amounts of money, given that industry and other major infrastructure systems can shutdown ahead of Earth’s most powerful natural disaster.

In 2016, the A World Bridge team from Kodiak, AK submitted their first prototype for an Earthquake Signal Precursor (ESP) station, which also won the NASA Europa Challenge that year. These early monitoring stations acquired data at only 1Hz (once per second), generating ~200,000 data points per day, per station. This data identified numerous magnetic field signature anomalies preceding a local earthquake, as confirmed by USGS seismic data.

Magnetic vector animation updated with date

Date/Time Vector Animation from Magnetometer (gauss)

The Trillium Learning - A World Bridge student teams and staff request support to accelerate their work on the algorithms to accurately identify these earthquake precursor magnetic field anomalies as they occur. This will allow us to forecast seismic events with a high degree of accuracy.

The ESP system currently utilizes open source technology, hardware and software, that include:

·      Monitoring stations

·      Data transmittal

·      Server data acquisition

·      Data storage and analysis

·      Dynamic visualization of live data

·      Open access to data for ongoing research

ESP Station Design

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