Quake quest

Published: Thursday 15 February 1996

Japan is setting up a US $40 million laser-based monitoring station - Keystone - to help predict earthquakes. It will he set up around the Tokyo Bay area which lies at the junction of three giant tectonic plates on the earth's crust. Laser beams are bounced off from satellite reflectors and the time taken for the return of the pulse is recorded. Data combined with the direction in which the laser was fired reveals the exact position of the satellite. Reversing the calculations can determine whether two plates am moving relative to each other and if they are, at what rate to predict the quake (New Scientis4 Vol 148, No 2005).

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