Earthquakes: Inaccuracy of GPS as a tool for prediction

Kliuchevskoi Volcano
Picture: Courtesy of ESA

The inaccuracy of GPS devices could be a valuable tool to predict earthquakes as an Indian studies describes. Researcher Sheetal Karia of the Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology (SVNIT) found a way to predict earthquakes using GPS inaccuracy. She studied data from three earthquakes in different parts of the world in the last three years and developed a model to predict earthquakes. The study is based on the fact that the underground tectonic plate activities that lead to a quake create an electromagnetic field. The field also affects the atmosphere overground which is scaled through variation in GPS data. GPS measurements and electron density observations by the detection of electro-magnetic emissions transmitted from earthquake regions could then predict if an earthquake will occur.

"Many a time, GPS data waves from satellite have variation due to which it gives inaccurate positioning. The variation is because of electro magnetic activity in ionosphere that creates disturbance in the path of the GPS data. And in specific cases the electro magnetic activity is because of tectonic plate movement," explains Karia.