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QuakeFinder is a private research organization focused on creating a system for earthquake prediction. QuakeFinder operates as a for-profit R&D division of Stellar Solutions and is funded by Stellar Solutions, by grants from NASA,[1] and by subscriptions and sponsorships from the public.[2]

QuakeFinder has developed science, technology, infrastructure and expertise that it intends as the foundation for a practical earthquake forecasting solution based on detection of geophysical and atmospheric phenomena. The QuakeFinder researchers believe that they have observed a dramatic increase in the number of ultra low frequency magnetic pulses emitted by the earth near the locations of impending earthquakes, starting two weeks prior to the event and lasting for one or two days. The team also believes that observations of air conductivity changes and infrared emissions coincident with the pulses corroborate the results.[3] Researchers from the USGS studied similar phenomena during the Parkfield earthquake experiment. These researchers did not find evidence of electromagnetic earthquake precursors. [4]

A possible explanation for QuakeFinder's observations is that when the sides of a fault move against each other, the increased stress activates charge carriers and underground electrical currents, producing electromagnetic pulses that can be detected with magnetometers.[5] The stress of the rocks pushing against each other also produces an increase in positive ions, which migrate through the ground into the air where they can be detected with sensitive air-conductivity sensors.[citation needed] It has been claimed that neutralization of these ions in the air gives off infrared radiation that shows up as "apparent heating" at night, when the ground should be cooling, as detected by NASA’s GOES weather satellite.[6]

The QuakeFinder team believes that the effects they are trying to study are localized in time and space, and aim to eventually be able determine "the time (within 1-2 weeks), location (within 20-40km) and magnitude (within +/- 1 increment of Richter magnitude) of earthquake greater than M5.4."[7] There is no independent verification of their results so far.[8][9] And, indeed, insofar as a verifiable prediction would amount to a public-stated announcement of the location, time, and size of an impending event before its occurrence, Quakefinder has not yet actually predicted an earthquake, and they have not issued multiple predictions of the type that might be objectively testable for statistical significance.

QuakeFinder has deployed a network of sensors that detect the electromagnetic effects the team believes precede major earthquakes.[8] Each sensor is believed to have a range of approximately 10 miles (16 km) from the instrument to the source of the pulses,[10] and includes instrumentation to detect 3 axes of magnetic field disturbances, 2 types of ions in the air, a geophone to detect mechanical disturbances, temperature and relative humidity sensors, and associated data acquisition and transmission equipment.[citation needed] The sensors collect and store the data locally, and then transmit the raw data to the QuakeFinder Data Center in Palo Alto, Ca.

The network raw data that are automatically analyzed by proprietary algorithms invented and developed by QuakeFinder. The company's website provides plots of Quakefinder data, but numerical data values are not openly available to the public, thus making it impossible for other scientists to analyze and possibly validate Quakefinder claims of success.

According to its news releases, the QuakeFinder network currently includes more than 70 sensors in California, 2 in Peru and 2 in Taiwan. More instruments will be added in 2011 in Peru, Taiwan, Greece, and Turkey.[citation needed]

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  1. ^ See, e.g., results of search on grant number NNX08AF11G at "DATA COLLECTION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF ULF SIGNALS AND IONOSPHERIC PROPERTIES IN CALIFORNIA". NASA Shared Services Center - Customer Services Web - Grants Status Search. Retrieved 2011-09-30. 
  2. ^ Note however that, according to IRS Publication 78 ("Cumulative List of Organizations described in Section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986" [1]) Quakefinder is not a tax-exempt organization.
  3. ^ Bleier, T; Dunson, C (2010). "Correlation of pre-earthquake electromagnetic signals with laboratory and field rock experiments". Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. 10 (9): 1965–1975. Bibcode:2010NHESS..10.1965B. doi:10.5194/nhess-10-1965-2010. Retrieved 2011-09-30. 
  4. ^ "The Parkfield, California Earthquake Experiment". USGS.org. Retrieved 2011-08-29. 
  5. ^ Freund, F. T.; Takeuchi, A.; Lau, B. W. (2006). "Electric currents streaming out of stressed igneous rocks - A step towards understanding pre-earthquake low frequency EM emissions". Phys. Chem. Earth 31: 389–396. Bibcode:2006PCE....31..389F. doi:10.1016/j.pce.2006.02.027. 
  6. ^ Quakefinder (20 June 2009). "QuakeFinder Detects Quake: Pre-Quake Signatures Detected by QuakeFinder and NASA". SpaceRef.com. Retrieved 2011-09-30. 
  7. ^ Bleier, T. E.; Dunson, C.; Roth, S.; Heraud, J.; Freund, F. T.; Dahlgren, R.; Bryant, N.; Bambery, R.; Lira, A. (December 2010). Current progress in using multiple electromagnetic indicators to determine location, time, and magnitude of earthquakes in California and Peru. American Geophysical Union. abstract #NH24A-02. 
  8. ^ a b John Upton (August 13, 2011). "Pursuing the Grail of an Earthquake Predictor, but Facing Skeptics". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-08-28. 
  9. ^ John Upton (August 15, 2011). "The Science of Predicting Earthquakes: U.S. Geological Survey refuses to fund controversial research into electromagnetic signals". The Bay Citizen (New York Times). Retrieved 2011-08-28. 
  10. ^ Lisa Sibley (March 25, 2011). "QuakeFinder's mission: Detect quakes before they shake". Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal. American Cities Business Journals. Retrieved 2011-09-30. 

Bleier, T; Dunson, C (2010). "Correlation of pre-earthquake electromagnetic signals with laboratory and field rock experiments". t. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. 10 (9): 1965–1975. Bibcode:2010NHESS..10.1965B. doi:10.5194/nhess-10-1965-2010. 

Freund,, F. T.; Takeuchi, A.; Lau, B. W. (2006). "Electric currents streaming out of stressed igneous rocks - A step towards understanding pre-earthquake low frequency EM emissions". Phys. Chem. Earth 31 (4-9): 389–396. Bibcode:2006PCE....31..389F. doi:10.1016/j.pce.2006.02.027. 

Freund, F. T. (2007). "Stimulated IR emission from rocks: Assessing a stress indicator". eEarth 2: 1–10. Bibcode:2007Earth...2....1S. 

Freund, F. (2002). "Charge generation and propagation in rocks". J. Geodynamics, 33 (4-5): 545–572. Bibcode:2002JGeo...33..543F. doi:10.1016/S0264-3707(02)00015-7. 

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