Most earthquakes occur when tectonic plates are moving. Giant earthquake can occur at subduction zones – where one plate sinks below the other. The information so far was unreliable, mostly because giant earthquakes are relatively rare and tracking record goes as far as the 19th hundred.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in cooperation with Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, USA, is trying to upgrade GPS technologies to use them for early warning systems for hazards like earthquakes, tsunamis and extreme weather events.
Their success with local systems was presented by weather forecasters at NOAA National Weather Service Offices in San Diego. The presentation included tracking of real-time rain event and flash flood warnings.
ESA’s GOCE satellite revealed earlier this month that the great Japanese Earthquake from 2011 caused a tiny change in the local gravity. The satellite mapped Earth's gravity for four years and clearly shows a disturbance after 2011.
ESA's Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) mission will end this year. It has begun its decent towards Earth and will be reentering our atmosphere probably in mid-October. Having nearly tripled its planned lifetime, this Gravity field and steady-state mission has successfully mapped variations in Earth’s gravity with extreme detail.
The "International Charter: Space and Major Disasters" has been activated once more for China when on the morning of 22 July 2013 Gansu Province was hit by two earthquakes with a magnitude between 5.6 and 6.6 approximately and a depth of 20 km. Rescue efforts as well as local and international relief are already being conducted in the affected areas where some of the damages include power outages and disruption of communications. The areas suffering the worst harmful effects from the earthquakes were the counties of Zhang and Min.