We may never be able to entirely predict earthquakes such as those that hit central Italy in 2016, but we could better assess how they’re going to play out by joining up data from different scientific fields in a new Europe-wide observatory, say scientists.
In 2016 and early 2017, a series of major earthquakes rocked central Italy. In the hill town of Amatrice, one magnitude-6.2 earthquake devastated the town and claimed the lives of nearly 300 people, with hundreds more injured.
Richard Walters, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at Durham University, UK, has been studying a variety of datasets to understand how these quakes played out. He and his colleagues found that a network of underground faults meant there was a series of seismic events rather than one major earthquake – a finding that could help scientists predict how future seismic events unroll.
‘We were only able to achieve this by analysing a huge variety of datasets,’ said Dr Walters. These included catalogues of thousands of tiny aftershocks, maps of earthquake ruptures measured by geologists clambering over Italian hillslopes, GPS-based ground-motion measurements, data collected by a satellite hundreds of kilometres up, and seismological data from a global network of instruments […]