'Cloud image' can forecast 3 weeks ahead of incident: chief scientist
Chinese seismologists plan to build the country's first "cloud image" system to enable the country to release timely and reliable warnings on earthquakes with magnitudes above 5.0, according to the project's chief scientist on Tuesday.
The "cloud image" system is based on sensory technology, with self-developed detectors buried under the earth's surface to detect stress and energy dynamics in an area between 8 to 20 kilometers, said Wang Tun, the project's leading scientist and head of the Chengdu-based Institute of Care-life.
Wang compared the technology to X-ray or CT scanners, saying that once the system is established, the real-time image generated from sensors will help the public forecast earthquakes of magnitudes above 5.0 as easily as reading a meteorological cloud image.
Wang's research team will build around 2,000 monitoring stations, including sensors covering the country's earthquake-prone areas like Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, by the end of 2019 before the system goes national, Wang said. The project is co-funded by State- and provincial-level science authorities and the Organization Department of the Central Committee of Communist Party of China and civilian companies, Wang added.
Forecasting earthquakes with a magnitude above 5.0 will be accurate to 0.5-magnitude, and authorities could release forecasts as early as three weeks ahead of time, he noted.
A statement Wang's institute sent to the Global Times said it would roll out the first monitoring station for the "cloud image" system and the project's first sensor in Wenchuan, Southwest China's Sichuan, which was hit by an 8.0-magnitude quake on May 12, 2008.
Mou Chaozhi, the director of the Wenchuan earthquake prevention and disaster relief bureau, said the decision ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Wenchuan earthquake is of great significance.