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"Golden Like" for the GFZ

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The earthquake in Turkey and Syria on 6th February caused many deaths and left even more people injured or homeless. Unfortunately, scientists are still struggling to predict seismic activity. But there is hope: with the help of AI, a team from GeoForschung Zentrum Potsdam can now measure the influence of tides on earthquake occurrences.

by Eliane Eisenring

Over 47,000 confirmed casualties.
More than 63,000 injured.
Thousands of families without a roof over their heads.

The earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, which shook Turkey and Syria on 6th February, once again shows in a drastic way how much suffering such a catastrophe entails. Suffering that could be reduced or even prevented altogether if one knew that such a natural disaster was coming.

But especially in densely populated areas – where a timely warning would be most important – science still has a hard time forecasting earthquakes.
Resign ourselves to it? Not if you have a say in it:

Faults are sensitive to fluctuations in sea level. But these fluctuations generate such subtle effects that conventional measuring methods cannot register them.

That's why you are now using artificial intelligence (more precisely, a deep learning method) to detect the changes in seismicity rates that the tides create in the data. With the help of an image processing method (template matching), you then compare the curve progression of the data with the typical curves for earthquakes.

With the help of this procedure, you have already succeeded in proving a strong influence of the water level changes of the Sea of Marmara on small earthquake faults south of Istanbul: Whenever the sea level rises, the seismicity rates are significantly larger.

For using AI in this vital area, we would like to award you, dear team from Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ, the Golden Like! May we one day be able to say with certainty where and when the earth will shake.


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By monitoring armed conflicts.
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By preventing dementia.
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We are honored to have received the Golden Like award! The number AI-based methodologies in seismology has allowed a much efficient processing of vast data volumes in the last years, and the application of supervised and unsupervised machine learning techniques may lead to new important discoveries in this field.

Patricia Martínez-Garzón, GeoForschung Zentrum Potsdam GFZ

The Format

In our format "The Golden Like", we regularly honour individuals or institutions with a short eulogy who, in our eyes, have earned special praise for their achievements or where the appreciative thank you is far too often neglected.


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