"The pilot project for arranging a network in Georgia of VLF/LF electromagnetic emissions preceding earthquakes”
At the end of the 20th century, it has been found that the process of nucleation of strong earthquakes is accompanied by a generation of very low frequency and low frequency (VLF/LF), as well as, extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic (EM) radiation, which is observed both on the surface of the earth and by satellites. Studies have shown that the origin of the radio signal is connected to the formation of the cracks within the seismogenic area of the earthquake, which can translate into a rupture of the fault close to the hypocentre. On the basis of satellites and ground based networks, the VLF/LF electromagnetic emissions monitoring is underway in almost every seismically active region of the world (Japan, Europe, China, etc.).
Since Georgia, similar to Japan, the US and some parts of Europe, is considered to be one of the seismically active countries, the studies related to earthquakes and their generation and possible prediction are of vital importance for us. Due to some objective reasons, the recording of the VLF/LF electromagnetic emissions preceding earthquakes has not been possible in Georgia. For this reason, the research team, which participated in the above-mentioned grant, has set up a pilot project to establish a VLF/LF network in Georgia in the future, starting with the installation of a trial station in Tbilisi.
Based on the positive and novel results of the theoretical and practical work carried out by the group during the project, the management of the International Network for Frontier Research on Earthquake Precursors (INFREP) (www.infrep-eu.it) decided to donate the second receiver. Taking into consideration the urban conditions and geology of Tbilisi, both of the receivers were installed in Tbilisi. The above stations are field training-scientific stations, are useful not only for high-level scientific research, but also serve educational purpose. With the aim of transferring recent worldwide scientific achievements in the field of earthquake prediction to Georgia, since the reception of the grant, St. Andrew the First-Called Georgian University of the Patriarchate of Georgia has launched a Doctoral Training - Educational program "Geophysics". This way the students were able to get a first-hand experience in conducting the high-level scientific research.
Thus, as a consequence of the Rustaveli Foundation grant, first time in Georgia, a network of VLF/LF EM radiation receivers for detecting earthquake precursors has been established. To complement the network, we have also installed one GNSS station near the town of Mtskheta. The EM receivers were included in the International Network for Frontier Research on Earthquake Precursors (INFREP), where the data is being transmitted and stored on a regular basis. The incorporation of the team in this network, enabled the Georgian scientists to access the EM radiation data from the entire European networks and provided a unique opportunity for further advancing the theoretical and practical scientific research in this new direction. The Georgian group is conducting research in close cooperation with the representatives of the other countries in INFRAP, such as, Italy, Greece, Russia and Austria, as well as with several associated members from the US and Japan. It should be noted that among the former Soviet Union countries, only Russia (the Far East side) and Georgia are involved in this international network. It should be added that the inclusion in the network, enabled us to conduct of theoretical work that was not provided by the grant and is related to the possible predictability of earthquakes. Therefore, the group members had to create an independent scientific group and to develop the theory of the "Lithosphere-atmosphere-ionosphere coupling model", part of which is published in international scientific journals.
In the future, the group envisages to establish a regional cooperation, and in this regard, it has set some specific tasks to be achieved in the future. Regional scientific ties are necessary because Georgia is part of the Caucasus, which is a seismically active region. As a result, taking into account the specifics of the methodology, it's important to bypass the national borders and obtain observations from the entire region, with the final of goal of improving the earthquake preparedness in Georgian and the entire Caucasus.