PSN-L Email List Message

Subject: Re: japan quake
From: Bob Shannon earth@...........
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2003 09:41:50 -0700

At 12:24 PM 9/26/03 -0400, you wrote:
>In a message dated 26/09/2003 16:19:04 GMT Daylight Time, 
>mariotti@......... writes:
>>I am in wrong or a so called quake forecaster said
>>something about a BIG ONE in Japan, not much days ago?
September 22, 2000
Radio Stargazer's Key to Quakes
Staff writer
Astronomer Yoshio Kushida believes he will receive forewarning should
a major earthquake hit. "I am absolutely confident," he said when
asked about predicting a major quake in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
"(The signs of) all major earthquakes that have occurred could have
been observed," Kushida said in a recent interview at his private
observatory in Yamanashi Prefecture.
On the night of Jan. 14, 1995, an FM radio receiver began recording an
extraordinary baseline fluctuation at Kushida's Yatsugatake South Base
Kushida didn't realize it was the day that would totally change his life.
He was recording radio echoes in the very-high-frequency band to
observe the passage of meteors through the atmosphere.
Kushida was at a loss that night, believing the machine was
malfunctioning. The thickness of the baseline, usually about 1 mm, was
more than 2 mm on the nights of Jan. 15, 16 and 17, leaving Kushida
puzzled. But in the early morning of Jan. 17, he realized the hidden
message in the signal.
He turned pale when he switched on the TV. Breaking news told him that
a major earthquake, measuring a magnitude of 7.2, struck Kobe and
southern Hyogo Prefecture at 5:46 a.m. The earthquake led to the loss
of more than 6,400 lives, destroyed 248,410 structures and left
446,485 households homeless.
"I was overwhelmed by a sense of self-reproach. If only if I had
studied more closely when I found (the baseline phenomenon) two years
earlier," Kushida wrote in the book "Jishin Yoho-ni Idomu" ("The
Challenges of Earthquake Prediction"), published Sept. 1.
In 1993, after roughly examining the correlation between abnormal
electric waves and earthquakes, Kushida was convinced that some
fluctuating patterns in the VHF band appear several days before an
But Kushida, who had no expertise on earthquakes at the time, didn't
pay much attention to the data. He thought seismologists probably
already knew about the phenomenon, but in the end, that was not the case.
Most seismologists think that accurate prediction of earthquakes is
almost impossible, let alone early warning. But Kushida, through
carefully observing the phenomena over the past five years, has
continued his studies to challenge the common notion about earthquake
Analyzing radio echoes from a number of FM stations across the
country, Kushida believes he has found five basic wave patterns that
appear several days before a major earthquake.
 From January 1997 to September 1999, using these patterns, Kushida
predicted specific dates, strengths and locations of the focus of 36
major earthquakes measuring a magnitude of 5 or stronger.
The average margin of error in the dates predicted was 1.97 days.
As for location, Kushida now claims he can specify the focus of most
earthquakes within a radius of 50 km.
"I think (the accuracy) is practical enough," he said.
Some seismologists have argued that the results could be a coincidence
because earthquakes occur very often in the Japanese archipelago.
But the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research, a major
quasi-governmental think tank, independently examined the correlation
between earthquakes and Kushida's predictions and concluded the
results were not random.
"(The correlation) has much significance," said Toshiyasu Nagao,
director at the institute's Earthquake Prediction Research Center,
which now supports Kushida's project.
But what is the mechanism that causes this presaging of an earthquake
in VHF radio echoes?
Kushida's system was originally designed to observe meteors by
catching radio echoes from a commercial FM radio station.
According to Kushida's hypothesis, before an earthquake, electric
charges accumulate on the Earth's surface due to the generation of
numerous microcracks in magma.
The charge and discharge process of a capacitor formed with the
Earth's surface and the ionosphere changes density of electric plasma
in the ionosphere, and the phenomenon is observed by the FM receiver.
Indeed, it has been long known to scientists that some electromagnetic
phenomena appear before an earthquake on the Earth's surface.
In Greece, scientists have conducted studies on the prediction of
earthquakes for more than 10 years based on the theory that solid
matter emits an electric current just before it breaks down.
The reliability of the method, however, is still a focus of debate by
seismologists, although the scientists conducting the test claim the
success rate is about 60 percent.
Kushida recalled that seismologists' response to his method was not
good when he first held a press conference and contributed to an
article in a spring 1995 physics magazine.
After five years of studies, many seismologists -- many of whom have
little knowledge of the ionosphere or electromagnetism -- remain
skeptical, or simply ignore Kushida's achievements.
Kushida now only publicizes his analysis and predictions to people who
have subscribed to his fax service, believing open publication of his
predictions would only cause confusion or panic.
"What would you do about nuclear power plants, or railway service if a
major earthquake is forecast to hit? You may want to stop them, but
there is no legal basis (to support such actions). There is nothing I
can do," Kushida said.
Kushida said he cannot take responsibility for possible results of his
predictions, as they still contain a margin of error.
Much more public understanding, legislation for early warning systems
and more efforts to improve accuracy will be necessary before advance
publication of earthquake information will be possible, he said.
But interested parties can subscribe to Kushida's fax service if they
sign an oath not to leak the information to other people or use it for
secondary purposes.
For further information, access or send a
fax to the observatory at (0551) 38-4254.
The Japan Times: Sept. 19, 2000


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