This project investigates trees, earthquakes, atmosphere and ionosphere as a coupled system to see if trees can be used as precursor for short term earthquake prediction alongside other long, intermediate and short term precursors.
History has shown animals can and have predicted earthquakes (Cao et al., 2018, Tong 1988), but the general tone of this topic has been negative (Geller 1997). Plants have been used to indicate natural disasters (Ha KM 2018) and warn each other of predictors (Babikova et al., 2013). Tree rings have been used as evidence for past earthquakes (Jacobyet al., 1988) and trees have been used to monitor climate change (Aubin et al., 2018).
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However research into using trees to predict earthquakes is fragmented.
Trees communicate with each other by using an underground network of fungi.
Fungi provide tree roots with nutrients and help the tree root to uptake water via mycellia and trees provide the fungi food as carbohydrates and sugars.(Nature 2018 ,Fleming 2014,Wohlleben 2016)
I believe if this communication between fungi and tree is disturbed by some perpetuation (such as ground shacking pre or during earthquakes) the tree becomes deprived of these vital nutrients and water for its growth. The tree in response to this deprivation of nutrients tries harder to get and transport water and nutrient to other parts of the tree. As the nutrient resource decreases the tree tries harder and transports gas bubbles with the depleted nutrients. These gas bubbles restrict the flow of nutrients around the tree and cause the tree stress just like when trees are deprived of water during droughts (Nature 2018). The tree then gives of signals such as low frequency ultrasonic waves, sent poisonous gas (Nature 2018) and possibly gas/water emitted from leaves to atmosphere as the tree tries to remove the restricting gas from within. This may cause some kind of ionisation reaction in the form of flashing light phenomena in the atmosphere above the tree. This may add to the strange phenomena earthquake lights seen before/during/after earthquakes (Janski et al., 2018). These flashes of lights above the tree may also help indicate a warning sign for an earthquake. However, this requires further research.
So in summary, below the ground tree roots detect the ground shaking and send signals to other parts of the tree above the ground. Above the ground stressed trees emit warning signs in the form of low frequency ultrasonic waves due to transporting gas around the tree. Above the tree the leaves release the gas to the atmosphere to cause some kind of ionisation reaction in form of possible flashing lights
This coupled system of lithosphere-atmosphere-ionosphere requires further research.
More research is required into how trees communicate warning signals to life and the surrounding environment to see if they can be used as short term precursors for mitigating future earthquake alongside other precursors to help transform precise data into practical earthquake prediction, to save life and prevent infrastructure loss.
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