||03-11-2013 12:41 PM
2011 Japanese earthquake "sensed" by GOCE satellite
The Gravity Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) is the European Space Agency super-sensitive satellite that acts like an orbital seismologist.
Scientists argue that earthquakes not only create seismic waves that travel through Earth's interior, but large tremors also cause the surface of the planet to vibrate like a drum. This produces sound waves that travel upwards through the atmosphere.
"These signals were detected at two positions along the GOCE orbit corresponding to a crossing and a doubling of the infrasonic wavefront created by seismic surface waves," the study said.
The satellite first recorded the signal as it passed over the Pacific Ocean about 30 minutes after the quake and then again 25 minutes later as it moved across Europe.
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