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Israeli researchers develop method to predict earthquakes with 80% accuracy

The technique promises to calm fears in areas where earthquakes are found to be unlikely to occur

Damage following an earthquake in Melbourne, September 22, 2021. (Photo: AAP Image/James Ross via Reuters)

A team of Israeli researchers reportedly have developed an effective method for predicting earthquakes 48 hours in advance, with an 80% accuracy rate. 

Ariel University doctors Yuval Reuveni, Nimrod Inbar and Lee-Ad Gottlieb led the groundbreaking Israeli study, publishing their findings in May in the scientific journal Remote Sensing

The Israeli researchers developed their method by studying changes in the Earth’s ionosphere, an area where the thin atmosphere encounters the vacuum of space. The study enabled evaluating potential precursors of large earthquakes that have taken place over the past two decades. 

The study focused on major earthquakes that surpassed six Mw on the moment magnitude scale. The team’s method applies a machine-learning support-vector machine technique with GPS mapping data. 

The technique can predict an earthquake with 80% accuracy by calculating electron-charge density in a region, exhibiting a potential to save lives in earthquake-prone countries, such as Cuba, Peru, Indonesia and Japan. 

Conversely, it can also predict when earthquakes will not happen with 85.7% accuracy, reducing fears in earthquake-prone regions. 

Earthquakes kill an average of 20,000 people every year worldwide, mostly in developing countries that have poor or insufficient infrastructure to withstand violent earthquakes. 

The eastern Mediterranean and parts of the Middle East are also prone to earthquakes and could benefit from the method. Turkey and Iran are two countries that are especially vulnerable to earthquakes, located in areas of high seismic activity. 

In early July, at least five people were killed and a dozen wounded in southern Iran when a 6.1 magnitude earthquake flattened a village. 

In 1999, a massive earthquake killed 17,000 people close to the Turkish city Izmit. More than 250,000 people became homeless as a result of the earthquake. 

Over the years, Israel has offered considerable humanitarian aid to Turkey and other countries suffering from earthquakes, including to Iran in 2017.

After hundreds of people were killed in the 2017 earthquake, Israel’s then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Jerusalem’s aid offer to Iran. 

“I just saw the pictures of the destruction in Iran and Iraq from this week’s earthquake, and I saw these heartbreaking images of men and women and children buried under the rubble,” Netanyahu said at the time. “A few hours ago, I directed that we offer Red Cross medical assistance to the Iraqi and Iranian victims of this disaster.”

“I’ve said many times that we have no quarrel with the people of Iran,” added Netanyahu, who has campaigned for years against the Iranian regime’s nuclear program. 

Unsurprisingly, the Islamic regime rejected Israel’s aid offer.

The Israel Science Foundation and Israel’s Energy Ministry funded the Ariel University-based research study.


The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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