Science » Technologies and discoveries
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Earthquakes maintain stability on planet Earth

Earthquakes can let off pressure that builds up in the earth's crust

Following the scale of death and destruction caused by the recent catastrophic earthquake in South Asia, it is about time the basic concepts of seismology should be changed. The difference between the measures aimed at reducing earthquake perils and daily routine work to predict earthquakes has eroded over the last few years. The search for a solution to the problem has stalemated. Some fundamentally new approaches should be found for tackling the problem of a short-time (at least) forecast of devastating earthquakes. earthquake

The new approaches boil down to the following. It is essential to learn how to snatch the initiative of planning earthquakes from the hands of nature. Earthquakes are natural phenomena, they are needed to maintain stability of the planet. Earthquakes can let off pressure that builds up in the earth's crust. The underground nuclear tests carried out by the USSR and USA in the 1960s and 1980s showed the effectiveness of the man-made pressure release mechanism. No large-scale earthquakes were registered anywhere in the world during the above period. Researchers at the Institute of Physics of Earth under the Russian Academy of Sciences made a breakthrough discovery 20 years ago. Academician Evgeni Velikhov designed a magneto-hydrodynamic reactor that could be used as an environment-friendly controllable machine for exerting influence on the source of an earthquake that is about to happen.

The experiments conducted in the Pamirs and Tien Shan showed that the reactor could trigger a series of relatively weak earthquakes and thus prevent a catastrophic seismic event or lessen its proportions. A generator with the capacity of 500 megawatt is capable of “burning off” earthquakes within a 500 km range. A similar large-scale experiment will be carried at the Russian Far East. An experiment program has been prepared by researchers at the Institute of Physics of Earth and the Institute of Physics of Extreme States in cooperation with researchers at the Troitsk Institute of Innovational and Thermonuclear Studies and the Computing Center of the Far East Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Academician Evgeni Velikhov will supervise the project.

The preconditions for administering “therapy” to treat catastrophic earthquakes are already in place. There is an effective controllable tool to influence on the seismically active areas. Researhcers gained a certain amount of experience as to the problem of directed seismicity. A great variety of test grounds in the seismically active areas at the Russian Far East is still available. Good specialists are still available too. However, some therapy procedures with regard to the treatment of the earth's crust by “burning it off” are still missing. How much electricity is required to make injections? What is the regularity of injections? What kind of a syringe should be used for a course of injections?