Tsukuba, Japan: The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan in association with Tohoku University developed a new GPS-based quake scale estimation system. It can estimate the scale of crustal movement within minutes after a big earthquake, much faster than the system widely used now that takes more than five hours to do so. The system is now in testing phase, and will be fully operational in 2013.
Under traditional methods, analysing only seismic data, quake scales can be underestimated just after earthquakes, the officials said.
At the time of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami; the Japan Meteorological Agency initially announced its magnitude was 7.9, but drastically revised it to 9.0 two days later.
The new system could have estimated the preliminary magnitude of the 2011 quake at 8.7 based on data tallied in three minutes, the authority said, adding they are trying to enable the new system to make more accurate estimations five minutes after a quake.
Source: Mainichi Japan