Forecasting earthquakes has yet to be achieved. However, there are numerous non-seismic precursor signals, which become detectable weeks to days before major events – for instance changes in Earth’s electrical surface potential. These changes are due to the arrival of positive electronic charge carriers, known as positive holes, stress-activated deep in the Earth’s crust, in the hypocenter of the future earthquake. Trees can be used as antennas for detecting the surface potential changes due to these mobile charges. This configuration allows for the detection of diurnal variations of the ground potential. Although we only had 105 days worth of data, our preliminary analysis helps us conclude that tree antennas may help identify anomalous surface potentials created by positive hole stress activation weeks before an earthquake.


Chemistry | Earth Sciences | Geophysics and Seismology


Friedemann T. Freund

Lab site

SETI Institute

Funding Acknowledgement

This material is based upon work supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0952013. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation or the National Science Foundation. This project has also been made possible with support of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The STAR program is administered by the Cal Poly Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME) on behalf of the California State University (CSU).



URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/star/286


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