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China to launch 1st earthquake monitoring satellite

Updated: Jan 19,2017 8:33 PM     CRI Online

The electromagnetic monitoring test satellite produced by China Aerospace and Technology Corporation. [Photo/]

A Chinese-made electromagnetic test satellite will be launched in the second half of 2017 to monitor earthquakes. It will be the first satellite of its kind for China.

The satellite has a life span of five years, monitoring quakes of magnitude six or above that hit China, and quakes of magnitude seven or above occurring across the world.

The electromagnetic satellite has eight components including an inductive magnetometer, a magnetic tester, an electric field detector, and a Global Positioning Sensor Occultation System.

It will serve as China’s first space-based platform for seismological observation, and will provide the country with a much wider observation perspective compared to ground-based monitoring stations. It will be able to monitor the real-time dynamics of the ionosphere and will monitor for signs of impending earthquakes by collecting data on the global electromagnetic field, energetic particles, and more.

Earthquakes affect electromagnetics by cutting earth’s magnetic lines and outputting electromagnetic radiation.

In 2003, the US launched an earthquake forecast satellite that studied the relation between magnetic fields and rock fractures.

One year later, France and Ukraine launched electromagnetic satellites to study the changes of the ionosphere connected to quakes and volcanic activity.