This technology, though posing an incredibly valuable asset to the international community, also has the potential for negative outcomes.
- International Cooperation
- Disputes regarding ownership and issues that may arise dealing with information distribution may dealy the implementation of this technology once it is fully developd. These issues may be resolved, however, by an international commision formed to regulate this technology.
- Increased Global Awareness
- Using data collected from past earthquakes and tectonic movement over the years, the global scientific community's understanding of seismology will be gratly increased, and prediction models will continue to incresae in accuracy, further reducing danger. Apart from the scientific community, the general population of high-risk areas will also gain a greater understanding of safety precautions and procedures. Using data such as the model of seismological energy release (at right), collected during a 1994 Northridge, CA earthquake, scientists will be able to predict maximum stress points and establish warnings and "hotzones," areas to avoid building on or near.
- Error Margin and Possible False Predictions
- False warning signs, or uncertain probabilities of earthquakes may lead to major evacuations and emergency actions several weeks prior to an expected earthquake that never occurs. These errors may spur economic failures in evacuated regions, lead to insecurity and panic in these areas, and subsequently disrepute the warning system in some areas of the world.
- High Maintenance
- The satellite network requires a complex communications system with GOES and numerous earthstations, in addition to a fragile positioning system. These may be prone to failure if not provided with adequate failsafes, and may compromise data readings and result in erroneous predctions. Significant problems may result with system maintenance, as once deployed, these satellites will be difficult to reach. However, with overlapping fields of range, and auxiliary satellites on standby to cover the data readings during maintenance, this should not pose a significant problem.
- Human Life
- Despite all the potential barriers that this technology may face, the greatest benefit will be the effect upon human life. With increased warning time, thousands upon thousands of lives can be saved, and the damage caused by earthquakes and the tsunamis that result will be minimized. Death tolls, even from high magnitude earthquakes, can be reduced from the thousands to the hundreds, if not lower.
The Gleebruk Village, pictured above in April of 2004, was decimated in a matter of minutes in late December, 2004.
With the help of this technology, a catastrophe like this may be avoided.