The seismometers were developed on large-scale in the decade of 1960s. The increased research and production wasn’t aimed at lowering the effect of natural disaster but to detect nuclear weapons tests conducted under ground. The cold war politics encouraged the technology to grow. Now another application of the instrument has been discovered.
As global temperatures are rising, melting and sudden movement of ice shelf is becoming a common phenomenon in Greenland, Antarctica and to some extent Himalayas. The seismometers have ability to detect small glacial movements and predict these glacial earthquakes. The field of glaciology would be changed due to this application now.
Huge ice masses are melting and increasing water levels world over. The human settlements around these glaciers are also in danger due to the climate change. The glaciers flowing on the Earth since million years are suddenly becoming extinct. But detecting glacial earthquake is not that easy. Proper analysis of the data collected by seismometers is required.
The glacial earthquake release energy up to 5 magnitudes on the Richter scale. So this is definitely not something which can be avoided. This new concept needs to be studied in detail. Though researchers have successfully managed to track some glacial quakes, they still don’t know what shakes the earth. The ice sheet involved breaks and melts in the water.
Tavi Murray from Swansea University is researching this topic with a team of scientists at Helheim Glaciers in Green. Global Positioning System was used to track the ice movement.