Faster Tsunami Warnings Possible with GPS Software

Date: 1/10/2006

Scientists demonstrated that the global positioning system (GPS), using newly developed data processing software, can determine within minutes whether an earthquake is powerful enough to generate an ocean-wide tsunami. The new GPS displacement method is based on precisely measuring when radio signals from GPS satellites arrive at ground stations located within a few thousand kilometres of a quake. Scientists can calculate how far the stations moved because of the quake, and then derive the quake’s true size, its moment magnitude. This magnitude is directly related to a quake’s tsunami-generation potential.

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