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Scientists Unveil Revolutionary ‘Invisibility Cloak’ that can Protect Buildings From Earthquake

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Representational image. Pixabay
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November 23, 2016: To protect buildings from earthquakes, scientists are developing large structures which are inspired by ‘cloaking’ materials for sound and light.

Much like sound and light, Earthquakes too travel in waves. Previously, scientists have designed materials with internal structures that interfere with the propagation of light and sound.

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Recently, the researchers at the Imperial College London in UK with collaborators in France are trying to make larger versions of these structures, and that could be used to control the propagation of earthquakes.

Trees act as resonators, and they oscillate at certain frequencies, even at long wavelengths.
“In the right arrangement, the interaction of resonating trees can redirect the energy of seismic waves deep into the soil, reducing damage.”

Researchers said,” This approach is based on metamaterials, artificial arrangements of resonators with unusual electromagnetic properties.”

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Metamaterial or ‘invisibility cloaks’ have already been used to make tiny objects invisible to the eye by redirecting the light waves. Recently, larger versions could be created to emulate the resonance of trees and make the buildings ‘invisible’ to earthquakes.

According to PTI, Professor Richard Craster, Head of the Department of Mathematics at Imperial said,”Wouldn’t it be great if we could surround a historic castle or a nuclear power station with a metamaterial, so that when the seismic waves come at it they are sent around or diverted into the ground.”

“The building would remain perfectly still, not damaged. This is what we want to do,” said Craster.

Dr Andrea Colombi, also from Imperial, with Craster and colleagues, demonstrated how a dense forest behaves as a natural seismic metamaterial.

By generating the vibrations from a crane and by measuring the effects with seismometers, they found out that the resonating trees do offer local protection against surface waves of certain frequencies.

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Researchers saw, in a natural forest, the irregular height of trees and the gaps between them offer protection against larger range of frequencies than that a uniform array would.
The trees would cover an even wider range of seismic frequencies, if they are arranged by decreasing height

Scientists call it a ‘metawedge’, which can be created with real trees or poles acting as artificial resonators.

Craster added.”Another thing we care about is, for example, the vibration coming from railway lines.”

prepared by NewsGram team with PTI inputs

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  • Diksha Arya

    This is an amazing concept. If this works, it will be a boon to mankind.

  • Ruchika Kumari

    we all know earthquake make a huge devastation….hope this gonna protect buildings

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Researchers Suggest Studying Aquifer Water Levels in the Himalayas to Predict an Earthquake

Whenever earthquakes occur, widespread cracks and deformations on the earth's surface are common, resulting in changes in groundwater levels, believe researchers

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Can water levels in the foothills of Himalayas forewarn about earthquakes? The blinking red light on a seismograph shows the epicentre of an earthquake. (representational image) Wikimedia

Bengaluru, October 16, 2017 : Continuous monitoring of water levels in the foothills of the Himalayas can warn about an impending earthquake in the region, which is due for a major temblor.

This recommendation to the Ministry of Earth Sciences has come from Ramesh Singh, professor of environmental sciences at California’s Chapman University, who is also president of the Natural Hazards Group of the American Geological Union.

Singh says the utility of monitoring the water levels of underground aquifers for predicting earthquakes in quake-prone regions has been confirmed from analysis of water level data in a bore hole collected during the earthquake that rocked Nepal’s Gorkha district on April 25, 2015.

The findings of the study carried out by Singh and three seismologists from China have recently been published in the journal Techtonophysics.

The Gorkha quake, one of the deadliest in Nepal, killed about 5,000 people mainly in Nepal, a few in bordering India, two in Bangladesh and one in China, and injured about 9,200 people.

Whenever earthquakes occur, widespread cracks and deformations on the earth’s surface are common, resulting in changes in groundwater levels, Singh told this correspondent in an email.

In China, many parameters are being monitored in water wells, including water level, water temperature, and water radon concentrations to detect any signal prior to an impending earthquake.

According to the scientists, due to seismic wave propagation, the volume of an aquifer expands and contracts, forming fractures that change the water flow in a bore well sunk into the aquifer.

In the case of the Gorkha quake, the scientists considered the water level in a bore well — called “Jingle” well — atop an aquifer in China’s Shanxi province, 2,769 kilometres from the temblor’s epicenter. The data was analysed soon after the Nepal earthquake.

A “spectrum analysis” of the co-seismic response of the bore hole water level showed large amplitude oscillations with a maximum peak-to-peak value of about 1.75 metres associated with ground vibrations generated by the earthquake, says their report.

In addition, the analysis revealed the arrival of a possible precursor wave at the “Jingle” well about 6.5 hours prior to the actual occurrence.

ALSO READ Indian Seismologist Arun Bapat had Predicted China Earthquake on August 8

“The study of co-seismic changes in groundwater has emerged as an important research area which can provide an improved understanding of earthquake processes and corresponding changes in surface and subsurface parameters,” Singh said.

Water level data in close proximity to the epicenter may be of great importance in getting early warning signals of an impending earthquake, he said. China and the United States routinely monitor aquifer water levels at 15-minute intervals.

In the light of the finding, Singh said that “India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences may consider deploying water level sensors in the Himalayan foothills areas, which may provide valuable information about an impending earthquake in the Himalayan region, which is due for a major earthquake.”

Such data, he added, “is also useful in understanding the dynamic nature of the Indian plate”.

However Arun Bapat, former head of Earthquake Engineering Research at the Central Water and Power Research Station in Pune, says he has some reservations about the study’s conclusion that water level changes observed in the bore hole were the warning signal for the Gorkha earthquake.

“Various effects associated with a large earthquake (Magnitude 7.5 or more) such as electrical, magnetic, geological, tectonic, hydraulic, radioactivity, etc., have been observed within about 600 to 800 km from the epicenter (but not beyond),” Bapat told IANS.

Bapat said the magnitude of the Gorkha quake was about 6.5 to 6.75 which is considered as moderate. “The effect of this quake on water level changes at a distance of 2,769 kilometres from its epicenter is almost not possible.” (IANS)