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IIT-Madras researchers develop new approach for 'accurate detection' of earthquakes

The proposed solution results in accurate detection and picking of the first waves in earthquake signals, which provide a small time window for charting measures to save lives, say researchers

November 14, 2021 / 12:40 PM IST
Representational image

Representational image

Indian Institute of Technology-Madras researchers claim to have developed a new approach for accurate detection of earthquakes, which they say will provide a small lead time to save lives.

An estimate of accurate time of arrival of non-destructive waves of earthquakes would not only help in developing a robust early warning system but also gives a lead time of approximately 30 seconds to 2 minutes till the destructive surface waves hit the ground, they said.

“The proposed framework is not necessarily limited to the detection of seismic events but is generic and can be used for fault detection and isolation in other domains as well,” Prof Arun K Tangirala, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras, said.

The research was carried out by Kanchan Aggarwal, a PhD Scholar, under the guidance of Tangirala. The findings have been published in the peer-reviewed open access scientific journal PLOS ONE.

The proposed solution results in accurate detection and picking of the first waves in earthquake signals, which provide a small time window for charting measures to save lives.

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This lead time is sufficient to shut down nuclear reactors, metro and to park the elevators in high-rises at the nearest floor, among numerous other measures that can save countless lives.

A solution to the P-wave detection problem that is robust, accurate and precise was essential to estimate the event details correctly and to reduce the damage caused by the earthquake or other triggered events, said Aggarwal.

P-waves, or primary waves, cause the ground to compress and expand that is to move back and forth in the direction of travel. They are called primary waves because they are the first type of wave to arrive at seismic recording stations, says Encyclopeida Britannica.

This work proposes a novel real-time automatic P-wave detector and picker in the prediction framework with a time-frequency localisation feature.

Highlighting the practical applications of this research, Tangiral said, “The framework can incorporate any predictive models including the machine-learning and deep-learning models, which will reduce the human intervention in the detection.”

The proposed approach brings a diverse set of capabilities in accurately detecting and the P-wave onset, especially in low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) conditions that all the existing methods fail to attain.
Vanita Srivastava
first published: Nov 14, 2021 12:40 pm

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