Тhe Fedynsky Center of Regional Geophysical and Geo-ecological Research (GEON) under the RF Ministry of Natural Resources has been carrying out lately monitoring of elastic-brittle layer of the earth's lithosphere in the area of Caucasian Mineral Waters. The objective of these regular studies is medium- and short-term prognostication of earthquakes for a nature preserve of the size of 80х80 km (according to seismic risk it comes after Kamchatka, Sakhalin and regions situated along the ВАМ). About 1 min residents live there, but the population swells in summer-time. This fact contributed to the creation of a "forecasting ground" on this territory, which has been already in use for 5 years. Staff members of GEON - Leonid Solodilov, Igor Kadurin, Sergei Vasilyev and Vladimir Korobov surveyed the work implemented in the Caucasian region.
Eleven digital registrars of seismic signals "Alia-GEON" have been installed here; from remote points, using telemetry, the observation data are transferred to the Center of Data Collection and Processing, while from near ones they are collected by operators. The essential feature of the work method is presentation of final results on the "stress form" of the environment in a four-dimensional format (three spatial components and one temporary).
The method has been studied for 5 years through registration of 3 seismic events: with the magnitude (M) 3.5 at a distance of 130 km (an earthquake of February 21, 1996, to the south-east of the ground), with M=5.6 at a distance of 360 km (an earthquake of January 31, 1999, on the territory of Daghestan) and with M about 7 at a distance of 700 km (seismic shock in Azerbaijan). These data demonstrate a short-range action of a forecasting parameter "stress form"; in all cases the applied technology allows to timely (1 -7 days in advance) caution against a strong earthquake shock.
The latter gives ground to consider the territory of Caucasian Mineral Waters expressly as ecologoprotective. In addition, it is here that not simply the problem of forecasting is solved, but it is predicted how destructive will the action of any earthquake be on this territory.
The short-range action of the parameter "stress form" made it possible several times (in October 1997, April 1998, February 1999, etc.) to cancel false forecasts of seismic shocks, that had been given for the region near the Caucasian Mineral Waters through the use of other methods.
The prognostication system, worked out by GEON staff members, includes: plutonic seismic mapping to specify the state of dangerous zones in lithosphere; theoretical substantiation of their directions; organization of special grounds, where seismically hazardous points are concentrated, to observe the stress of the earth's crust. The efficiency of the monitoring carried out here is guaranteed by the up-to-date measuring- and-information complex "Delta-GEON" in combination with the data of engineering geophysics.
GEON Center is conducting similar forecasting studies in Moscow and near Almaty.
L. Solodilov, I. Kadurin, S. Vasilyev, V. Korobov, "Studies of Nature Preserves Territories/or Medium- and Short- Term Prognostication of Earthquakes", Mineral Resource Processing and Protection, No. 2, 2001
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