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How a 'Seismic Cloak' Could Slow Down an Earthquake

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the shake-rattle-and-roll dept.

Earth 101

Daniel_Stuckey writes "The United States is currently gripped in a bout of earthquake mania, following a series of significant tremors in the West. And any time Yellowstone, LA, or San Francisco shakes, people start to wonder if it's a sign of The Big One to come. Yet even after decades of research, earthquake prediction remains notoriously hard, and not every building in quake-prone areas has an earthquake-resistant design. What if, instead of quaking in our boots, we could stop quakes in their tracks? Theoretically, it's not a crazy idea. Earthquakes propagate in waves, and if noise-canceling headphones have taught us anything, it's that waves can be absorbed, reflected, or canceled out. Today, a paper published in Physical Review Letters suggests how that might be done. It's the result of French research into the use of metamaterials—broadly, materials with properties not found in nature—to modify seismic waves, like a seismic cloaking device."

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America for Americans. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46632887)

Fuck Israel.

OMG!!!! PINK MARX!!! (1)

udachny (2454394) | about 7 months ago | (#46632973)

I fully support ideas of Marx where it concerns the abolition of the State and income tax resistance [wikipedia.org] .

Given the nature of today's date, let's go further.

Marx insisted that the bourgeois exploits the proletariat through the "constant revolutionising of production and uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions". [wikipedia.org] So let's declare revolutionizing of production to be illegal and prohibit any form of non-incremental but sudden advances where it concerns production, manufacturing and technology. Introduction of personal computers was not an incremental step, introduction of the Internet itself, the combustion engine, powered flight, nuclear power, molecular biology and DNA based technology, and more, none of these are evolutionary, these are revolutionary technologies and must be abolished, prohibited and abandoned in favor of more evolutionary technologies and production techniques, which do not serve to undermine the status quo of the every day lives of the proletariat.

Of-course all private property must be abolished, inequality must be squashed, this has to start with the 1% but it cannot stop there, it must be taken to its logical conclusion. As long as we have inequality there can be no true Marxism / Communism, so we have to find the lowest common denominator, which everybody must agree, is the ultimate goal that provides the conformity necessary to prevent rise of capital formation. Let's find that lowest common denominator taking into account that private property starts with our own bodies, let's look beyond the obvious, such as land, factories, cars, houses, and such, let's look at the root of this evil, the moment of conception itself. Nobody can be allowed to utilize naturally occurring DNA based advantages, which are also manifestation of private property and thus capital formation, we must eradicate this inequality at the moment of formation. This requires that all sperm and eggs used in conception are equalized, there can be no deviation from the standards and norms in order to achieve maximum parity.

Of-course among the already living there are other forms of inequalities that can also be addressed immediately. There are, after all, people who through no fault of their own lost limbs, eyesight, normal functioning of their natural bodies, which is where the problem of inequality is very sharply observed. Nobody should be in a position to utilize his or her property to rise above the normal, thus normal must be understood to be the poorest in all properties, including body functions and capabilities. This means that upon reaching a certain age, all people must undergo a mandatory equalization procedure, consisting of the following elements:
* Removal of limbs
* Lobotomy
* Removal of other discriminating organs, such as eyes, tongue, nose, external genitalia.

Only by ensuring that no person can reasonably elevate his or her worldly status via acquiring possessions, especially if starting from an unequal playing field, which includes having more in terms of body capabilities than anybody else, only then can true Marxism / Communism be built in the land of equality and parity.

In the spirit of Marxism / Communism access to all valuables must be open to all international claimants, so for example an American peasant must be sharing fruits of his labor with anybody in the world, including any Indian or Chinese or middle-eastern comrade [wikipedia.org] and while taxes must be resisted [wikipedia.org] by the majority, a minority must be forced to pay them anyway, and while the State must be abolished [wikipedia.org] , taxes still must be collected on behalf of the.... State [wikipedia.org] ?

We must all subscribe to these notions or we must at the very least admit that Marx was one of the biggest jokers of them all and as such he firmly asserted his position in the OMG Pink Pony movement [metlin.org] .

Interesting .... (5, Interesting)

King_TJ (85913) | about 7 months ago | (#46632981)

For some reason, this article made me think of that story about Tesla and his "oscillator" experiment:

http://www.angelfire.com/scifi... [angelfire.com]

I wonder if, rather than relying on these "metametals" in special soil, one could station units similar to these at strategic locations along fault lines, designed to pick up an earthquake's resonant frequency and generate a corresponding one tuned to cancel it out?

Two questions. (2)

westlake (615356) | about 7 months ago | (#46633049)

I wonder if one could station units similar to these at strategic locations along fault lines, designed to pick up an earthquake's resonant frequency and generate a corresponding one tuned to cancel it out?

What are the power requirements? How many stations do you need to do the job?

Re:Two questions. (1)

BreakBad (2955249) | about 7 months ago | (#46633201)

How many stations do you need to do the job?

And where?

Sometimes I feel like the people who make all the squiggly looking equations are just making shit up to spend tax dollars.

Re:Two questions. (1, Offtopic)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#46633557)

your statement sums up the tea party.
The government is spending money on stuff I don't understand, therefore waste.

Re:Two questions. (-1, Flamebait)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 7 months ago | (#46633683)

your statement sums up the tea party. The government is spending money on stuff I don't understand, therefore waste.

To a teabagger, "stuff I don't understand" is almost everything except huntin' and killin'.

Re:Two questions. (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | about 7 months ago | (#46633711)

Ah yes, you and he expressing that noted trait of liberals, acceptance of differing opinions. Neither of you made any effort at all to counter the doubts, just cast aspersions.

Re:Two questions. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46634417)

Ah yes, you and he expressing that noted trait of liberals, acceptance of differing opinions. Neither of you made any effort at all to counter the doubts, just cast aspersions.

There is little value in the opinions of the uneducated and illiterate. The old school conservatives were intelligent and articulate people who were fun to debate whereas the teabaggers are little more than a mob of white trash.

Re:Two questions. (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 7 months ago | (#46635045)

When the argument is "If I don't understand it, then it's a waste of time and money" there isn't anything to counter.

Re:Two questions. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#46634033)

your statement sums up the tea party.
The government is spending money on stuff I don't understand, therefore waste.

To a teabagger, "stuff I don't understand" is almost everything except huntin' and killin'.

https://xkcd.com/1339/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Two questions. (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#46634021)

your statement sums up the tea party.
The government is spending money on stuff I don't understand, therefore waste.

Then explain it.

If, after you've explained the topic in an understandable and non-biased manner, the person in question maintains their previous mentality, then it's appropriate to be a dick about it.

But not before. "Catch more flies with honey," and whatnot.

Re:Two questions. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46634427)

your statement sums up the tea party.
The government is spending money on stuff I don't understand, therefore waste.

Then explain it.

If, after you've explained the topic in an understandable and non-biased manner, the person in question maintains their previous mentality, then it's appropriate to be a dick about it.

But not before. "Catch more flies with honey," and whatnot.

Dems spend money on defense keeping people out of prison.
Repubs spend money on defense and unnecessary wars.

Oh and flies prefer vinegar actually. http://xkcd.com/357/

Not that the typical "tea party" voter (who nearly all voted Bush in the general election, then for Palin's running mate, then the R plutocrat (if they voted at all), bothers to fact check things.

FWIW, the only thing I liked about that nut Palin is that she was OK with being filmed in front of a turkey slaughter. That's about the one non-hypocritical thing I saw out of an R on the national stage.

Oh look, I'm a partisan! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46635001)

nyah nyah nyah, everyone with a R next to their name is an idjut! I am *so* progressive!

Re:Two questions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46635565)

1. "Earthquake canceling headphones" would simply be an "earthquake generating machine" that the lady at the DMV promises only to activate to cancel out a natural earthquake.

2. Do you really want President Jeb or the lady at the DMV to have am fully operational earthquake generator?

3. We are spending a TRILLION (with a T) dollars a year trying to keep people out of prison. It isn't working. Prison populations are huge. Your solution is to spend more. Yeah, we don't understand.

Re:Two questions. (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#46633219)

A couple of free energy generator will suffice.

Re:Two questions. (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 7 months ago | (#46633591)

Enough to move a Continental plate.

Re:Two questions. (1)

King_TJ (85913) | about 7 months ago | (#46636133)

Well, obviously, I'm not Mr. Tesla and I'm just throwing the general idea out there, for people more knowledgeable than myself to argue the details / merits of it.

But his original oscillator was steam powered and quite small in size. The whole point was that it would continually amplify the initial frequency with each repetitive slamming of the piston into the ground, making an initially small wave very large. It doesn't sound like it would require all that much energy, even if you built it much larger in size? How many would you need? I don't have any idea .... I would guess that even large magnitude earthquakes start out in a similar fashion -- with waves that increase in energy as they build in energy over the first few seconds? If so, maybe timing is the most critical thing.... cancelling some of it out before it has that chance to amplify?

Re:Two questions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46636267)

just use wave energy

Re:Interesting .... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46633137)

The difficulty in wave cancellation is that you have to work with the interference patterns. Unless the source and countersignal are in exactly the same location, the interference will lead to both flat regions and double-amplitude regions. Noise-cancelling headphones work by exploiting a chokepoint where the signal strength involved is low enough that the constructive interference will be miniscule and in (for the numbers involved) harmless locations.

If you can't artificially dampen the quake, the next most viable method would be to surround vulnerable locations with possible countersignal generators and turn on those that would interfere favorably for the protected area. This may have dramatic and destructive side-effects elsewhere...

Re:Interesting .... (3, Informative)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#46634051)

If you can't artificially dampen the quake, the next most viable method would be to surround vulnerable locations with possible countersignal generators and turn on those that would interfere favorably for the protected area. This may have dramatic and destructive side-effects elsewhere...

Like how 2 raindrops in a puddle can cancel the waves of a third in the middle, but send waves of their own radiating outward from their own epicenters.

Re:Interesting .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46642659)

Ya but the waves of the two drops still propagate. While you could counter the first you would still have the artificial waves to worry about. While it might be possible to create a directional wave, you would need to know the exact location of the quake, and even if you did know the location it would be expensive. This is an unlikely solution.

You might manage to reduce the magnitude by increasing the frequency, but the energy would still be about the same. In theory we could use this mechanism to increase the frequency to something more manageable. In doing so we also run the risk of causing more quakes, and in a worst case scenario we could cause a cascade effect that could reduce a large area to rubble. In the end the best option is to dampen the waves. Because of the expense involved this can only be done for critical locations. Many skyscrapers already use such tricks to ensure they will survive the quakes.

Re:Interesting .... (1)

uninformedLuddite (1334899) | about 7 months ago | (#46645469)

hehe. He said propagate

Re:Interesting .... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 7 months ago | (#46635093)

I think digging a city out, and filling the gap with a new material that moves in an earthquake, absorbing the waves, or reflecting them, protecting the city. No need for anything active to make a seismic cloak.

Doesnt that enegry have to go somewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46636439)

I ask the question since it could be a possibility! How would you know that using such a method wouldn't cause a build up of energy, and while you cancel the quake out, how do you know it wont build up somewhere else and be released at a much larger magnitude, perhaps something well over 10X!

Earthquakes are still something science has yet to fully understand. And trying to create this in a lab, or with a computer [remembering the computer has to be programmed with the knowledge man has] is one thing but going out in the wild and trying it could yield just the opposite.

That seems like that a massive amount of energy to try and cancel out, without expecting your plan not to backfire.

Re:Interesting .... (0)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 7 months ago | (#46633699)

Anglefire? What are you, some kind of moron?

Re:Interesting .... (2)

mikael (484) | about 7 months ago | (#46634837)

Given the magnitude of energy involved (every level on the Richter scale is 10x the one below itI think it would be easier to build floating cities like Buckminster suggested. Build a skyscraper frame using a hollow superstructure, get enough sealed air in the superstructure and you actually end up with a structure that will actually float in the air due to differences in air density.

Re:Interesting .... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 7 months ago | (#46635047)

Which fault lines are you talking about?
The few people have found or the unknown ones that aren't discovered until they rupture?
Last year New Zealand had a series of 5+ quakes on a previously unknown fault line, despite thousands of faults already mapped.

California's 'Next Big One' may have nothing to do with the San Andreas fault.

Protecting a small area from surrounding fault lines is much more realistic than protecting an area surrounding a single fault line.

Re:Interesting .... (2)

Dahamma (304068) | about 7 months ago | (#46636873)

California's 'Next Big One' may have nothing to do with the San Andreas fault.

Any "big one" in California will have something to do with the San Andreas fault. We pretty much shrug off at 5+ quakes, those are just minor annoyances caused by offshoots of the San Andreas ;) When we talk "big one" we're talking 7+, and whether it's directly caused by the San Andreas or another related fault, the energy for that is almost definitely coming from the movements of the Pacific and North American plates...

Weaponize (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46632985)

Being able to cancel out seismic earthquake waves would imply the ability to generate out of phase waves of similar amplitude. If we have that capability, we absolutely should use it to attack North Korea.

Re:Weaponize (4, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 7 months ago | (#46633041)

If you use waves to cancel out the quake I see two problems.
1. The amount of energy needed to cancel it out.
2. The risk that it may actually result in a worse situation somewhere else, possibly trigger an unexpected quake instead.

Re:Weaponize (2)

St.Creed (853824) | about 7 months ago | (#46633177)

What they do, as I gather from the article, is that they drill holes in specific patterns around installations. The pattern then absorbs seismic waves and turns them into sound and heat at the focal points of the waves. No idea how much heat or sound, but in general it's an improvement over having the building destroyed.

Re:Weaponize (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 7 months ago | (#46633643)

Seems a lot easier to just build the building properly to begin with.

Re:Weaponize (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46633901)

It's not about easy, it's about cost.

Re:Weaponize (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 7 months ago | (#46634749)

True. But what if the building is built already? Say, a building from 20 years ago.

Re:Weaponize (1)

theguyfromsaturn (802938) | about 7 months ago | (#46639313)

Exactly. Or even older structures in "historical" areas. You can't always build fron scratch. This is a promising way to deal with area protection.

Re:Weaponize (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46635043)

I think you are describing an island....

Re:Weaponize (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#46633243)

There's also a small chance of creating an unexpected doom.

Re:Weaponize (1)

schlachter (862210) | about 7 months ago | (#46633923)

I think the idea with the metamaterials is that it would cancel out the waves passively.
I think we're ok with triggering a worse situation somewhere else. That's what we do best.

Re:Weaponize (1)

hAckz0r (989977) | about 7 months ago | (#46634165)

Very true. Waves have both constructive and destructive interference, and the sources would have to be perfectly aligned to really negate the energy. That of course means your cloak would need to be deep inside the earth exactly where the seismic energy is coming from. And good luck at injecting enough energy to affect trillions of tons of rock exactly in phase with a seismic wave that you didn't know was coming exactly at that instant. This kind of nonsense could only happen on April 1st.

Re:Weaponize (1)

Todd Palin (1402501) | about 7 months ago | (#46635877)

Good points. The amount of energy a Mag 8 earthquake (like the one that just hit Peru) is roughly equivalent to 2,500 nuclear bombs. So presumably the power to generate "noise cancelling waves" would be of a similar order of magnitude. Presumably this amount of power would have to be deployed at an exact time and location in order to be effective. I think I'm starting to see a problem with this plan.

As for Korea, just detonation 2,500 A-bombs should do it, we don't need no stinkin earthquake generator.

Re:Weaponize (1)

khakipuce (625944) | about 7 months ago | (#46637913)

Obligatory XKCD

http://xkcd.com/793/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Weaponize (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46633077)

It's called HAARP.

In Communist USA... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46633005)

Seismic waves clock your dick

Banana shaped (2)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about 7 months ago | (#46633043)

Is the seismic cloak made of sheep's bladders?

April Fools (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 7 months ago | (#46633123)

Let's see, first let's try and stop Plate Tectonics. First let's shut down that big old nuclear furnace at the center of the Earth... Nothing to big to do there...
After which the electromagnetic field shielding the earth stops
and we all get hella bombarded by solar winds..

This is a bad sci fi movie plot, April Fools

hello, StereoCentral? (2)

swschrad (312009) | about 7 months ago | (#46633157)

I'd like to order ten thousand amplifiers and about 20,000 kick-ass bass cabinets... oh, and one microphone and phase inverter...

Re:hello, StereoCentral? (1)

Hobadee (787558) | about 7 months ago | (#46634397)

phase inverter

You can't invert phase. You *can* invert polarity. (Unless you figure out some way of inverting time - then you could invert phase.) ...also, this story is an April Fools.

Re:hello, StereoCentral? (1)

mikael (484) | about 7 months ago | (#46634845)

You can shift it by +/- 180 degrees. That's good enough for a sinusoidal wave.

Artificial Screaming Wall? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46635943)

Prior art: http://brutallegend.wikia.com/... [wikia.com]

But where? (1)

slapout (93640) | about 7 months ago | (#46633169)

But where would we get a set of headphones that big??

Re:But where? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#46633287)

I found some on AliExpress [livefilestore.com] .

What nonsense. (5, Funny)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 7 months ago | (#46633175)

Everyone knows earthquakes are particles not waves!

Re:What nonsense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46634731)

Just put up a phonon shade.

Earthquake resistant buildings (1)

hamster_nz (656572) | about 7 months ago | (#46633209)

It doesn't mean what you think- oo practical building can resist all earthquakes. The building standards are more about if a large earthquake occurs the building damage should be it limited to a small area. And it isn't about having a usable building after a quake - it is about not killing the people inside or around it.

Speaking from experience, just because a building stands up during a quake it doesn't mean that the building won't be structurally broken and require significant repairs or replacement before it can be used. The energy has to go somewhere!

Re:Earthquake resistant buildings (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 7 months ago | (#46633457)

Yes, but if you use the meta-materials correctly you can fully demolish the building and burn any survivors before any insurance payments have to be made out. Saves on costly search and rescue efforts as well as demolition fees and permits. Extra profits can be made by using anonymous corporations to sell/promote the building "cloak" while being the owner of the upstanding and completely ignorant meta-materials manufacturer.

If we just split the earth in half, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46633417)

we could stop the earthquake wave propagation at the split point.

What could go wrong?

Dude, what? (1)

twotacocombo (1529393) | about 7 months ago | (#46633435)

"Significant tremors in the west"? The recent earthquakes used to be business as usual back in the 80's-90's. We'd have them at least once or twice a year, if not more, and it never really raised an alarm. We've just had such a dry spell since 1999 (or '94, if you want to keep it in the LA basin), that these light/moderate earthquakes seem like big news. The bigger story should have been "Where the hell are all the earthquakes??" for the past 20 years.

Re:Dude, what? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 7 months ago | (#46633665)

Right here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L... [wikipedia.org]

There have been more in the last 10 years then there were in the 90s

Re:Dude, what? (1)

twotacocombo (1529393) | about 7 months ago | (#46633995)

None of them of any appreciable size in the greater Los Angeles area since Northridge. None of the larger ones since Hector Mine were widely felt in LA, and the majority of them were off shore or way out in the sticks. Look at the fault map for LA.. there's tons of them, yet none of them produced anything newsworthy in 20 years. The period between Whittier Narrows and Hector Mine was the most active, with many quakes that didn't make it on that list but I still remember to this day. 1992 was a a crazy year for quakes. The fact that nothing larger than a 5.4 has hit LA since 1999 is unusual compared to the 20 years that preceded it.

Re:Dude, what? (1)

hondo77 (324058) | about 7 months ago | (#46634207)

You didn't really just use a Wikipedia page as a definitive list of earthquakes in California, did you? For starters, people are really inconsistent about what quakes they're adding. I mean, really, people are adding 4.1 quakes to that list. I did a quick check and found a 6.0 from 1993 that was missing from the list (it is missing no longer).

Wacky idea I had (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 7 months ago | (#46633509)

What if you could attach a line of giant shock absorbers across fault lines? The plates wouldn't be able to move fast enough to cause an earthquake right?

Totally impractical, especially considering the amount of anchoring that would be needed to get a meaningful structural attachment to a tectonic plate, but I wonder if it would work in theory.

Re:Wacky idea I had (1)

u38cg (607297) | about 7 months ago | (#46637473)

The engineering would be impossibly gargantuan. A variant which is commonly suggested is the opposite, lubricating the plates to try and get a series of small earthquakes rather than one large one. This would be ideal *if* you could guarantee that you wouldn't simply trigger the big one.

Re:Wacky idea I had (1)

coofercat (719737) | about 7 months ago | (#46637917)

Or how about digging out deep trenches alongside the fault line and filling them up with foam to absorb some of the shock wave?

Would this work on the /. talking articles? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46633525)

Could this same noise-cancellation methodology be used to silence the reverb-ish spoken summaries that freak out my cat every time I load an article?

  Full disclosure: I don't really have a cat.

From reading the actual article, this could work (4, Interesting)

ShooterNeo (555040) | about 7 months ago | (#46633535)

The primary problem with this concept is that you have to know very precisely the composition of the ground where you install this barrier. Another problem is that environmental changes - soil moisture, temperature, are going to affect the material properties somewhat (but maybe not enough to matter).

Essentially, extremely low frequency waves that trash buildings don't perceive the ground as atomic, the waves act over their wavelength, which is very long, and so if you put things into the ground, it changes the material properties. Carefully drilled holes apparently can change the properties in dramatic ways. The word "cloak" is sexy, but the more interesting bit mentioned at the end of the paper was the prospect of building a bandstop damper with the low corner at 0 Hz.

It doesn't do you much good if your earthquake prevention device reflects the energy somewhere else dependent on the epicenter, and it also doesn't do you much good if it doesn't block enough frequencies to stop it from trashing your buildings. A bandstop filter would operate over a broad enough band to attenuate all the frequencies, and it wouldn't reflect energy to other buildings (which could have obvious liability concerns.) Imagine a plaintiff's attorney showing a standing wave pattern of destruction emanating from a field of holes drilled by the defendant's firm.

The other satisfying nature of this tech is that it's proactive. Instead of building structures that will probably collapse if a magnitude 8 happens anyway, you go out there and build armor that will stop the earthquake entirely. Also, a field of holes and concrete and various pertubations, all buried, is a lot less ugly than the structural changes needed to reinforce a building against a major earthquake.

It would be expensive to do the detailed surveys and compute the solution, but it would create more high education jobs, and it's probably worth doing.

Re:From reading the actual article, this could wor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46634687)

That immense energy has to go somewhere. I just don't see how it's possible to avoid simply moving the trail of destruction somewhere else. Maybe find a way to send it DOWNWARD?

Re:From reading the actual article, this could wor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46636943)

Agreed. The energy absolutely has to move somewhere. Noise cancelling headphones don't destroy sound, they just make it undetectable by your eardrums.

Re:From reading the actual article, this could wor (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 7 months ago | (#46635229)

I call BS on this. There is a basic "fault" to this argument.

Ground can be solid rock or sedimentary deposits and the two react to quakes differently.

The 1926 Yokohama earthquake had vertical displacement of up around 9 feet as I recall from the books I have on it. A cloak would be worthless.

A slip fault at the San Andreas in Parkfield, CA might have part of your property moving North by some feet compared to the other side. You are not going to be able to stop those amounts of movement.

Never Met (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46633565)

Everyone knows earthquakes and magnetism have nothing to do with the Earth. They never met each other. Go ahead without fear. Nothing could ever possibly go wrong. No sudden liquefying, no mineral phase changes, no redirections or sudden subsidences and subductions tens, hundreds or thousands of miles away. Never! Please, try it in the US, first. Preferably near Wall Street on a big business day. During a mega-Fracking IPO event. Please.

better options (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46633777)

You could dig up miles of ground to build seismic cloaks, or you could build your buildings on springs [wikipedia.org] .

Bose QuakeGaurd® (2)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 7 months ago | (#46634137)

Protect your home and family from deadly earthquakes with Bose's Patented QuakeGaurd® Home Audio system that instantly detects earthquakes and sends seismic-neutralizing audio waves through our fashionable and amazing hi-def speaker that fits conveniantly on any book case, desk or night stand. When not fending off quakes, it plays CDs and even works with your grandchildren's iPhone to play those new fangled MP3s kids love so much these days. Order now and get a complementary pair of stylish Bose AudioWave Earbuds that work with any Walkman or portable CD player.

Re:Bose QuakeGaurd® (1)

slapout (93640) | about 7 months ago | (#46634411)

I think you just wrote the plot to the next syfy movie of the week (after Snarknado 2): a small group of geologists notice a series of small quakes. They believe a much larger one is coming. They try to warn people but no one listens. As the story unfolds one of the geologist is reunited with her former boyfriend -- a computer hacker. As time is about to run out, they hack into all the computers on the west coast and set them to play a certain sound. This ends up stopping the earthquake.

Crazy? Yes. Too crazy for SyFy? No.

release of force (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46634309)

are earthquakes not releases of build-up forces between two or more parts of the earth crust.

Why would you try to contain those forces and if so are you not making the next quake a stronger quake since forces will be still there

and if so does stopping earthquakes completely require a infinite amount of energy since force build-up gets higher each time

It won't happen (1)

Solandri (704621) | about 7 months ago | (#46634421)

But not for technical reasons. While the engineering would be difficult to do, it's possible.

The problem is legal. It stems back to a question a friend of mine asked when noise-cancelling headphones first appeared. "If a sound wave has energy, and an equivalent wave 180 degrees out of phase also has energy, and when you combine the two you get no sound, where does the energy go?" Obviously the energy for both waves goes to regions where the two waves don't cancel.

So if you protected an area with this device, after an earthquake you'd be sued into oblivion by neighbors claiming your device increased damage to their property.

Re:It won't happen (1)

ImprovOmega (744717) | about 7 months ago | (#46635017)

"If a sound wave has energy, and an equivalent wave 180 degrees out of phase also has energy, and when you combine the two you get no sound, where does the energy go?" Obviously the energy for both waves goes to regions where the two waves don't cancel.

No, no you're thinking about this wrong. It the same basic principle as what happens when two people push against each other with equal force - they both go nowhere. The energy involved in sound wave is very very low and essentially you're pushing down on the carrier medium (air molecules) at the same but directionally opposite pressure as the original sound wave. Now for high energy applications this can lead to highly interesting and destructive results (think head on car crashes, football linebackers smashing each other), but for audio cancellation it's negligible in effect. But you're right in the sense that the energy is not created or destroyed.

Now in this specific case it sounds like they're going more for a damper than an actual cancellation device (which would require ungodly amounts of energy to have an impact). That's seems a little more reasonable and potentially doable.

energy required (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46634449)

There is a HUGE amount of energy in an earthquake (enough to destroy cities). In order to cancel out those waves, we are going to need equally strong waves with the opposing waveform.

How will we find this huge quantity of power? The current grid struggles with normal demands. If you have to double (or more) the country's energy infrastructure, then this tech will never see any application.

(long since forgotten my /. password - so AC it is)

but.... (1)

SuperDre (982372) | about 7 months ago | (#46634665)

what are the consequences of sending those "anti-waves" on other parts of the world, there is a reason those 'waves' are going on.. those 'waves' are also a way of releasing kinetic energy that has been building up, but what will happen if you just send the released energy back, it might just pop out at the other side..

Slashdot unusable at work (2)

SimonInOz (579741) | about 7 months ago | (#46634733)

If you start putting stupid autoplay on stories, they cannot be read at work. And Slashdot will die.

What the heck is wrong with you guys?

Re:Slashdot unusable at work (1)

matria (157464) | about 7 months ago | (#46635873)

AdBlock rule |http://slashdot.org/*.mp3?*

Re:Slashdot unusable at work (1)

SimonInOz (579741) | about 7 months ago | (#46636819)

Yup, that works nicely, thanks.

But - more to the point - Slashdot should not be doing this in the first place!

Bring back CmdrTaco!

Re:Slashdot unusable at work (1)

coofercat (719737) | about 7 months ago | (#46637897)

Great idea - thanks. Up until now I just had my speakers on mute. This is better :-)

No Autoplay please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46636361)

+1

Do77 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46634763)

tired argumentBs [goat.cx]

Weaponisation (1)

gatkinso (15975) | about 7 months ago | (#46635081)

If it can produce waves powerful enough to dampen an earthquake, then it can produce an earthquake.

Can we do this for traffic jams first? (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about 7 months ago | (#46635207)

Seriously, somebody needs to find a way to eliminate the wave propagation of heavy traffic. IMHO, those entrance ramp meters are a dumb idea. It just backs up traffic onto the local roads. Foot on the gas, people!

Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46635209)

There's an idea!
        I seriously doubt they could actually prevent the damage that something as tremendously powerful as an earthquake can do, but maybe they could prevent the media from going on and on and on about it ad nauseam after it happens. California and the SW US will become less and less important/useful as their drought continues to get worse, and most people will be leaving that area if they can, leaving it for those who can't afford to move. Maybe they'll invade Mexico.
        When they have "The Big One", I suspect they'll be waiting a looong time for help. Kinda like Katrina, writ large. I don't think this spiffy new tech's gonna be good for much, if anything.

For a reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46635485)

The crust shifts...

Cancel a shift in one zone can only increase stressors in surrounding zones.

Also as an expansion thought, if one were able to cancel the shift in the crust, would this not allow the crust to cool properly via now a broken earth convection current, create massive mountainous bulges in crumple zones elsewhere, create catastrophic instabilities world wide?

Everyone knows (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46635497)

An earthquake is caused by Mother Earth.

She's sad.
Sad that there are too many taxes.

Sad that everyone complains about global warming, but no one does anything to stop it except jack up taxes.

Sad that everyone loves the hydrocarbons.

I wish we could lower taxes and stop the Global Hydrocarbon Extraction (tm).

Please, Al Gore, please lower taxes and solve global warming.

wavy thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46635673)

"Earthquakes propagate in waves, and if noise-canceling headphones have taught us anything, it's that waves can be absorbed, reflected, or canceled out."

Not waves that big, pal.

ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46635747)

you got me. I fell for it.
Happy April 1.

horizontal propagation (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 7 months ago | (#46635769)

I understand we can build cancellation structures for waves that do horizontal propagation, but what about vertical propagation?

April Fools (1)

Akaihiryuu (786040) | about 7 months ago | (#46635845)

I'm pretty sure this is an April Fools joke. While it would be *theoretically* possible to cancel out an earthquake by producing waves of the exact same amplitude but opposite phase, people are forgetting the "same amplitude" part. Earthquakes generate a HUGE (absolutely HUGE) amount of energy, and you have to throw the exact same amount of energy (with inverted phase) back at it. How are they going to generate this huge amount of energy? Certainly not with a few speakers. Even small earthquakes generate as much or more energy than a nuclear weapon.

The cure could be a nightmare... (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 7 months ago | (#46636033)

People seem to completely miss the key part of this experiment... The energy has to go somewhere:

As you can see, in the region where bores were drilled, wave strength dropped immensely. Near the source, the strength increased, as waves were reflected backwards.

Just think of it... Those with the most money to spend, get to be earthquake-free, but everyone else gets their earthquake intensity INCREASED, perhaps DOUBLED.

Re:The cure could be a nightmare... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46644613)

Those with the most money to spend, get to be earthquake-free, but everyone else gets their earthquake intensity INCREASED, perhaps DOUBLED.

What's wrong with that? Are you a communist?
--
roman_mir

Simple question regarding the talk about energy... (1)

Payden K. Pringle (3483599) | about 7 months ago | (#46636135)

Can we somehow make something that turns earthquakes into usable energy like electricity?

Kinda being serious. Feel free to laugh me out of /. for a month.

Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46636277)

No, you can't cancel out a freakin earthquake. To generate equal but opposite waves, you need equal but opposite energy.
Now an earthquake might have the energy equivalent of several Megatons of TNT, so unless this scheme is powered by thermonuclear means, then you can forget it.

It can only ever work in a locally contained environment, eg a single building, where a smaller amount of energy can be expended for localized cancellation.

for small value of "notorious" (1)

epine (68316) | about 7 months ago | (#46636553)

Yet even after decades of research, earthquake prediction remains notoriously hard ...

We've been working on the existing of God for between 3,000 and 10,000 years now. The divine entity remains notoriously hard to confirm. News at 11.

It's a passive system, no energy required (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46637227)

This has nothing to do with noise-canceling headphones. The metamaterial is a passive system which does not allow transmission of mechanical power in specific frequency bands (which are called phononic bandgaps). It works like a Bragg filter for electromagnetic waves. Two problems:
1) the spatial scale would be huge. In the article they tested for 50Hz, but seismic waves carry most of the power at 1 Hz and below.
2) the energy is not dissipated, it's reflected back (oops). "Get the most out of your QuakeStop(TM)! Protect your house AND raze down your neighbor's!!"

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