Forum: Earthquake Prediction Research

Introduction to the Research of Short-term (or Just-before) Prediction of Earthquakes by Use of Electromagnetic Phenomena:
Especially Works by Professor Takumi Yoshioka (Hokkaido University of Science)

Editor: Toru Nakagawa
(Osaka Gakuin University, Professor Emeritus)
Posted on Mar. 9, 2015
( buttons guide you to the pages written in Japanese.

Editor's Note (Toru Nakagawa, Feb. 24, 2015)  (English translation: Mar. 8, 2015)

Even though it is somewhat exceptional for the present "TRIZ Home Page in Japan", I am going to start the Forum for introducing researches on earthquake prediction by posting various papers and articles. The Forum will focus on the Earthquake Prediction using electromagnetic phenomena, as shown in the title. The present page serves as the index page of the Forum.

My intention of starting the Forum is explained here:

(1)  On "Seismology", "Earthquake forecasting", and "Earthquake (short-term) prediction"

In Japan and all over the glove, historically and recently, we had many big (and of course even much more smaller) earthquakes and experienced serious damages.  Thus we wish to know in advance possible earthquakes, especially with the prediction of the place, time, scale, and situations, so as to reduce the damages possibly caused by the quakes. This is an eager of people especially now in Japan.

Seismology has been working to observe the earthquakes and to reveal the mechanisms of earthquakes first by using the geological records of past earthquakes.  The plate tectonics revealed the crustal movement in the global scale and has given us the basic understanding of earthquake mechanisms.   Due to the movement of crustal plates by several to several tens mm per year, the energy of stress is accumulated for many years and causes a sudden slip along a fault, releasing energy as an earthquake.

On the basis of this understanding, many faults have been surveyed and the information on locations and era of past big earthquakes has been obtained.  Such information provides us some capabilities of foreseeing possible future earthquakes in the ranges of several tens or hundreds years in some areas.

There is naturally a strong request to get information of possible earthquakes in much shorter terms, e.g. days or weeks.   Seismology (in Japan), however, says that Earthquake Prediction is very difficult and almost impossible at the present stage (except some possibility for Tokai Earthquake). (See HP of Seismological Society of Japan (SSJ) [C2] ). Thus the mainstream of SSJ and Japanese Government have reduced, after the March 11 earthquake, the R&D activities of earthquake prediction.

The difficulty essentially comes from the fact that the stress in the crust at the faults are accumulated for many decades (see 10 year = 3 x 10↑8 seconds) but is released suddenly in several to several tens seconds.   We would like to know some special phenomena occurring at the time range from a month (= 3×10↑6 seconds) to a second just before the earthquake.   As the main keys to the detection of such phenomena, seismology is conventionally using the mechanical properties, e.g., position and displacement, stress pressure, vibration, sounds, etc., and meets difficulty in detection.

If so, we should better try to use different types of information of some abnormal phenomena, as TRIZ advises us.   As a general recommendation, TRIZ suggests us to use some electromagnetic signals from any phenomena in such specific time ranges before the earthquake.

However, it is not yet known well what kinds of electromagnetic phenomena occur in relation to, and especially in advance of, earthquakes and what kinds and what strength of electromagnetic signals are available.

We should note in approaching to a new scientific/technological field that several different types of approaches must be made in parallel, such as discoveries of new phenomena, inventions of methods for detecting and observing new phenomena, revealing the mechanisms of the new phenomena, inventions of extracting and utilizing useful information from the new phenomena, etc., so as to make their little-by-little progress stimulate others mutually to promote the overall progresss.   Thus, the detection/observation of electromagnetic phenomena related to earthquakes (especially in the preceding time range) and the understanding of such phenomena can be obtained only through the trials of monitoring/observing various electromagnetic signals from possibly relevant phenomena.

In this sense, I believe that at the present stage we should promote the research of (short-term) prediction of earthquakes by use of various types of electromagnetic signals/phenomena, even though in preliminary trials.   Collaboration of multiple approaches and trials must be important.

(2) On the Start of Earthquake Prediction Society of Japan (EPSJ)

Predicting earthquakes in advance of a short term (e.g. a month to a few days) or just before (e.g. a few days to a minute) is desired by all people in the country for reducing big and serious damages possibly being caused by the earthquakes. 

Because of the intrinsic difficulties mentioned above, Seismological Society of Japan (SSJ) states that (short-term) prediction of earthquakes is (almost) impossible at present, and does not put stress on promoting research in such a direction.  Therefore, a number of researches/proposals of earthquake predictions are often criticized too preliminary to be effective and even as a fake.

In such a situation, Earthquake Prediction Society of Japan (EPSJ) was established last July, 2014 and held its First Academic Conference on Dec. 25-26, 2014, I learned. (See 'From the readers' )

EPSJ states its aims as follows (in Japanese), in its Web site. (Temporary English translation by TN)

Earthquake Prediction Society of Japan (EPSJ) aims at promoting the following activities from practical and also academic viewpoints.

First, for responding to the society needs of minimizing the disasters caused by (and in relation to) earthquakes, EPSJ aims at establishing earthquake prediction methods, which are based on scientific approaches by use of precedent phenomena and which are practical and accurate.

Second, EPSJ aims at comprehensive understanding, including revealing the generation mechanism, of phenomena preceding to the earthquakes, on academic aspects.  EPSJ intends to provide the results of the academic research widely to Japanese as well as international societies for activating earthquake prediction research and for improving the accuracy of prediction.

Third, EPSJ aims at proliferating the understanding of earthquake prediction and earthquake-preceding phenomena and cultivating people who will work in this field in future.

Reflecting on the significant influences on society, the members of EPSJ must carry out these activities with high ethics. "

Concurring on the proposals by Earthquake Prediction Society of Japan, I wish to join and contribute to it, even though I am not an specialist in this field. Since (short-term) prediction of earthquakes is a new field, it can be established only by the cooperation of people who have been working in different fields in addition to traditional geology and seismology, I believe.   I hope many of you readers, as well as myself, will be able to contribute in some parts.

By virtue of such research activities, we wish to reduce earthquake damages in Japan in not-so-far future.

(3) On "Earthquake prediction research by use of electromagnetic phenomena as the keys"

Possible means for detecting phenomena preceding earthquakes (and hence for predicting earthquakes) can be thought of in different ways in principles and in many more different ways in practical means.   Among them, I would like to focus on the methods using electromagnetic phenomena.

I have selected it in accordance to TRIZ, in a general sense, because there can be possibilities of various phenomena in such a category, of rich means to observe effects from such phenomena with high sensitivity and accuracy, of capabilities of efficiently processing the observed information in accurate and timely manners.

EPSJ and its professional founding members seem to put stress on the methods using electromagnetic signals for the earthquake prediction.

Furthermore, I chose this approach in general, because I learned a new method, which I will describe bellow:

(4) On research by Professor Takumi Yoshioka (Hokkaido University of Science)

In the present "TRIZ Home Page in Japan", I am going to introduce especially the work being carried out by Professor Takumi Yoshioka, Visiting Professor of Hokkaido University of Science.

His research focuses on the method of (short-term or just-preceding) earthquake prediction by use of the anomaly appearing in the frequency control of power generators in thermal or nuclear power plants.   He already obtained patents of his method and presented his work at the First Academic Conference of EPSJ last December (for 15 minutes).

His method, however, is not yet included in the figure overviewing the earthquake prediction methods using electromagnetic phenomena in the EPSJ Web site.

I got aware of Professor Yoshioka's work about 3 years agon, on May 19, 2012, by his presentation at a symposium held by Japan Creativity Society (JCS).   The announcement of the symposiums by JCS was as follows:

Theme: 'On the latest system of monitoring power generators and visualization of earthquake prediction'

Presenter: Takumi Yoshioka (Visiting Professor of Hokkaido Institute of Technology) [Note: Renamed into Hokkaido University of Science in 2014]

The author has developed a software tool for real time monitoring and online analysis of power plants in accordance with requests from electric power companies and has been carrying out monitoring omens and failure analysis of the power plant systems on the basis of the operation data.

In the present talk, I will first introduce how we make the monitoring data visualized for finding various types of omens of abnormality and failures and for tuning the operation of the equipment.   During the examination and evaluation process of the software for these 6 years, we have found that certain types of anomalous data appeared just before earthquakes.   We have examined the monitoring data during the period of East-Japan M9 Earthquake occurred on March 11 last year. This gives a significant result for building an earthquake prediction method.

The present talk mainly describes about the scheme and process for predicting an earthquake and about the visualization process of the information necessary for managing earthquake prediction.
The present method has already passed the preliminary examination for international patents and has been filed for Japanese patents.

The presentation was quite unexpected for me.

Mr. Yoshioka was originally working for Electric Power Development Co. (a special, half-governmental half-private company) and involved in the planning and constructing many thermal and nuclear power plants of all the electric companies in Japan.   He also developed software for real-time monitoring and operation of the power generation equipment.   He analyzed and visualized the real monitoring data of the operation for automatically and precisely controlling the current frequency and for recovering from any disturbance.  During such analyses, he has found the effects of earthquakes. In the data before several earthquakes, or more precisely a month or a week before and also just 30 minutes before, he has found some abnormal behaviors, he says.

He gave a talk for 60 minutes showing slides containing various detailed data, and we had a Q&A session for 60 more minutes.  I asked him many questions from various viewpoints, for nearly half of the time of the Q&A session, for examining the reliability of the data and his interpretations.

"The detected anomalous data contain mostly those not coming from the earthquake vibration itself (because the effect of the S-wave vibration made a sudden jump in the signal but died in a minute).   Anomalies were detected before a week of the earthquake, in several cases of earthquakes.   The anomalies are supposed to be the response of the power generator to some electromagnetic effects detected by the power lines as the antenna for recovering the frequency control of electric power automatically by the gyroscope effect of the power generator.   The mechanism where the earthquakes cause any preceding electromagnetic phenomena is not known well yet." -- I understood these points from his presentation.

In the beginning of this year, I was noticed that Professor Yoshioka et al. presented a new paper last December at the EPSJ Conference, resulting a wider awareness in the EPSJ community as a new method worthy of examining.

However, as the authors are aware well, it is still necessary to observe and examine whether this method can really predict earthquakes accurately in practice.  We should clarify in practice:  What types of earthquakes can be/cannot be detected with their preceding anomalies?  How can we estimate the timing, place, magnitude, and type of the earthquake from the monitored information?   How can we use these information for revealing the mechanisms of electromagnetic phenomena of earthquakes? etc.

We should try to establish a method of earthquake prediction (hopefully on the basis of the present method) by carrying out observation and examination with the support and cooperation by many power plants (of electric companies and of private self-power-generating companies) in Japan.

Furthermore we must proceed many more steps such as:
   to monitor and analyze the operation information by use of the software at a large number of power plants,
   to find the anomaly which can predict an earthquake by the consistent use of data from several plants,
   to inform such an anomaly detection to some official institution where a warning of earthquake prediction is judged by consistent use of information from other methods,
   to officially announce the warning of earthquake prediction to the society so as to reduce the damage due to the earthquake,

Professor Yoshioka is proposing to deliver his software and data for the purpose of cooperative examination of his method and his results.  I wish to contribute to such activities by using this "TRIZ Home Page in Japan" as a media for widening correct information and for supporting the promotion of the earthquake prediction methods.

(5) On the introduction in the present site "TRIZ Home Page in Japan"

I have had a wish to introduce Professor Yoshioka's work in the present site since May 2012, and the wish has now turn into reality.  I am going to post Professor Yoshioka's works here one by one in parallel to my learning on this topic.

Just like all other pages in the present site, the author, reference, and date of posting, etc. will be shown in every page and article for stating the authorship and responsibility.

The latter half of this page shows the indexes of articles posted in the present site and of references and links related to this topic. (Will be added later from time to time.) 

There are a wide variety of sites and articles showing different views and opinions; I have intently listed a wide variety of references which I think important.  I would like to mention that I am not always convinced, agreeable, or comprehending with some points or some articles in these references.

The icons of links are used as follows (consistently in this Web site).

In this site
In other sites
HTML page
PDF page
HTML page
PDF page
English page
  (abstract only:  )
Japanese page
  (abstract only:  )

You, readers and specialists, have various questions and opinions, I suppose.  When you send a message to me, Editor, via email, I am willing to post it in this site for open discussion and to respond to it either by Professor Yoshioka or by myself as much as possible.

My best regards.

It becomes just 4 years since the East Japan Earthquake and Disaster of March 11, 2011.  I pray for condolences and for recovery and happiness to many people who were and still are suffered from the disaster of the earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear plant accident.

We have big and complex problems and tasks, such as ceasing nuclear power plants, developing sustainable energies, foreseeing and predicting earthquakes, highly aged society, etc. etc.   I wish to collaborate with you and people in Japan and in the world to contribute to solving such problems step by step.  Links to some of the relevant pages are shown here. Great earthquake ,   nuclear plant accident , my new year message (2015)   


Photoes taken by 'Tokko-san'


Top of this page (1) Seismology and Earthquake Prediction (2) EPSJ (3) EP with electromagnetic signals (4) Prof. Yoshioka's works (5) Indexes    
[A] Prof Yoshioka's works [B] EPSJ [C] Seismology etc. [D] Questions and discussions       Japanese page



[A] Articles and references on Earthquake Prediction Research by Professor Takumi Yoshioka

[A1] 'Up-to-Date Report on the Early Detection of Omens of Anomalies in Monitoring Power Plant Equipment' (Anomalous phenomena detected just before earthquakes) , Takumi Yoshioka (Mado-Planning Co.), Hiroaki Kawai (Hokkaido Institute of Technology), presented at Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers (JSME), 15th Symposium of Power and Energy Technologies, C102, Jun. 20, 2010: "TRIZ Home page in Japan" , posted on Mar. 7, 2015. (2015. 3. 7)

[A2] 'Application of a New Real-time Online Data-acquisition and Analysis System for Detecting Omens of Troubles in the Power Plant Equipment and the Possibility of Predicting Earthquakes", Takumi Yoshioka (Mado-Planning Co.), Hiroaki Kawai (Hokkaido Institute of Technology), presented at Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers (JSME) Hokkaido Charter Conference, Proceedings of 49th Conference, pp. 101-102 (Nov. 7, 2010).

[A3] 'New Monitoring System of Power Plant Equipment and the Visualization of Omens of Earthquakes', Takumi Yoshioka (Mado-Planning Co.), Hiroaki Kawai (Hokkaido Institute of Technology), presented at Visualization Society of Japan, National Conference at Toyama, Proceedings Vol. 31, No. 2, pp. 81-84 (2011).

[A4] 'Development of an Earthquake Prediction Method using Power Generator and Its Application to the Analysis of Earthquakes After March 11, 2011', Takumi Yoshioka and Hiroaki Kawai (Hokkaido University of Science), presented at Earthquake Prediction Society of Japan, First Academic Symposium, Dec. 25-26, 2014, Tokyo.

[B]   Research and Acivitied by Earthquake Prediction Society of Japan (EPSJ) and its Members

[B1] Earthquake Prediction Society of Japan, Home Page, 

[B2] Earthquake Analysis Laboratory (Director: Masashi Hayakawa, Professor Emeritus of The University of Electro-Communications) 

[B3] Chiba University, Graduate School of Science, Professor Katsumi Hattori's Laboratory, Home page: 

[B4] Tokai University Earthquake Prediction Research Center, (Professor Toshiyasu Nagao), Home page: 

[B5] SEMS (Seismo Electromagnetic Signals) Study Group, Home page: 
[Established in 1995. A study group, actively using a mailing list, on the research of earthquake prediction by use of electromagnetic signals.   Various research information (including documents and videos) is uploaded widely and quickly in the Web site, forming a huge and valuable internet repository.]

[B6] 'History and Current Status of Earthquake Prediction Research', Seiya Uyeda (Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo), presented at Gakushikai, Dinner Lecture, March 2007; Gakushikai Bulletin, Vol. 2007 IV, pp.46-62; Posted in the Archives of Gakushikai Bulletin:

[C] Research and Activities in Seismology, Earthquake Foreseeing, and related fields

[C1] Seismological Society of Japan (SSJ), Home page: 

[C2] SSJ FAQ on Earthquakes 2) Earthquake prediction:

[D] Questions, criticisms, discussions, references, etc.

[D1] Yokohama Geophysics Research Laboratory, Home page (Editor: Sena Kamikawa):
[A personal blog posting many criticisms against researches on earthquake prediction by use of electromagnetic phenomena.]


Top of this page (1) Seismology and Earthquake Prediction (2) EPSJ (3) EP with electromagnetic signals (4) Prof. Yoshioka's works (5) Indexes    
[A] Prof Yoshioka's works [B] EPSJ [C] Seismology etc. [D] Questions and discussions       Japanese page


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