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"Space Rubik's Cube" Plays Pivotal Role: NCU Team Successfully Deciphers Physical Mechanisms of Earthquake Precursors

Posted on: 2023-09-12    
Photo by Chen Ju-Chih
Photo by Chen Ju-Chih

Professor Liu Jann-Yenq and his team from the Center for Astronautical Physics and Engineering at National Central University have achieved a breakthrough in understanding the physical mechanisms of pre-earthquake phenomena by utilizing Formosa Satellite 5 (Formosat-5) and the advanced ionospheric probe (AIP), nicknamed the "Space Rubik's Cube." They successfully observed precursors associated with the 12 November 2017 M7.3 Iran and Iraq earthquake—both temporal and spatial anomalies in the ionosphere, and space weather—global signatures of ionospheric storms. This success unravels the mysteries behind the ionospheric precursors of earthquakes as well as the electric field. Their findings have been published in the latest issue of Surveys in Geophysics.

Professor Liu attributed this significant achievement to Taiwan's first independently developed optical remote sensing satellite, Formosat-5, and NCU's independently developed scientific payload—the AIP. Despite weighing only one percent of Formosat-5, the AIP substantially enhances scientific exploration. Through the team's dedication, the physical mechanisms of the earthquake precursors were finally unveiled, marking a historic breakthrough!
 
The key to this breakthrough is Professor Chao Chi-Kuang's years-long effort in creating the "Space Rubik's Cube." A fine gold mesh was used to complete the cube—the most precise ionospheric plasma detector in the world. It provides high spatiotemporal resolution measurements of the density, temperature, and velocity of ions. Consequently, it enables glimpses into the ionospheric space weather and observation of the enigmatic ionospheric precursors of seismic activities.

Observations by the advanced ionospheric probe onboard Formosat-5 unveiled one of the ionospheric precursors of seismic activities—ionospheric plasma anomalies. Photo provided by Professor Liu Jann-Yenq
Observations by the advanced ionospheric probe onboard Formosat-5 unveiled one of the ionospheric precursors of seismic activities—ionospheric plasma anomalies. Photo provided by Professor Liu Jann-Yenq


The research team observed the abnormal ionospheric electron level—a precursor of the magnitude 7.3 earthquakes in Iran and Iraq on November 12, 2017. Photo provided by Professor Liu Jann-Yenq
The research team observed the abnormal ionospheric electron level—a precursor of the magnitude 7.3 earthquakes in Iran and Iraq on November 12, 2017. Photo provided by Professor Liu Jann-Yenq

 
Last updated: 2024-01-03 Posted by: Academic News Visit counts: 532