VIENNA, April 25 (UPI) -- GPS systems near an earthquake could determine magnitude and location in just over 3 minutes, allowing early tsunami warnings, German researchers say.
For submarine earthquakes that can generate tsunamis, the warning time for coastal areas is very short, said scientists at the German Research Center for Geosciences, GFZ, who analyzed GPS data from the Fukushima earthquake of March 11, 2011, in Japan.
"On the occasion of the Fukushima earthquake, we analyzed data from more than 500 GPS stations and showed that a correct estimate of the magnitude of M=9.0 and of the generated tsunami could have been possible in just 3 to 4 minutes after the earthquake," Andrey Babeyko told a meeting of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna.
The GPS shield concept was initially developed for a tsunami early warning system developed by GFZ on behalf of the German Federal Government for Indonesia, he said.
Such a system could have given a timely warning in Fukushima, he said.
"The application on the data sets of the catastrophic earthquake of March 11, 2011, shows again what potential a GPS shield has in tsunami early warning systems," Babeyko said.
"A GPS shield could be a useful tool for all regions with earthquake/tsunami risks."