Several weeks ago, on April 13, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit Awaji Island, Hyogo Prefecture and injured 33 people. Quakes are common in All Japan news, but the talking point around this specific tremor is that its time and place may have been predicted in advance.
The forecast came from an NGO involved in efforts to predict earthquakes by monitoring changes in the number of atmospheric ions. Although the credibility of earthquake prediction by ions is as yet unconfirmed, some of the earthquake specialists have appreciated the development, according to the local press.
The Research Group on Earthquake Prediction via Atmospheric Ions measures the concentration of atmospheric ions at 17 spots across All Japan news, and issues an earthquake forecast in the case of sudden increases. This system is known as the Precursory quake-Information System, or PISCO.
One week before the tremor, on April 6, the measuring technology used in Minamiawaji City, Hyōgo Prefecture recorded an increase in ionic numbers from the usual level of below 1,000 per cubic centimeter to 12,000 ions per cubic centimeter. The next day,the NGO announced it is expecting „a magnitude-5 earthquake in Awaji Island”.
On April 13, there was a magnitude-6.3 earthquake with its epicenter near the Awaji Island.
It is not clear yet if this was a scientific discovery or just a coincidence. At the moment, scientists are still divided, but if confirmed this could be a major discovery in terms of predicting earthquakes.