Ateneo Physics and Math faculty receive LS Scholarly Work Grant to study seismoelectromagnetics of 2010 Moro Gulf Quake

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Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr, Dr. Felix Muga II, Fr. Daniel J. McNamara, SJ, and Fr. Sergio Su, SJ were recently awarded the Loyola Schools Scholarly Work Grant by the Ateneo de Manila University to undertake a research entitled, Seismoelectromagnetics: Finding magnetic precursors of the 2010 Moro Gulf Quake using MAGDAS data. The grant, worth Php 300,000, was allotted for the 6-unit deloading of Dr. Felix Muga and the hiring of Christine Chan as the project’s Research Assistant. The grant’s duration is from January 1 to December 31, 2016.

The idea for the seismoelectromagnetics research proposal was conceived last April 9-11, 2015, during the Strategic Planning of Manila Observatory. In this planning, the Solid Earth Dynamics (SED) program was represented by Fr. Sergio Su, SJ and Randell Teodoro, while the Upper Atmosphere Dynamics (program) was represented by Fr. Daniel J. McNamara, SJ, Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr., and Clint G. Bennett. Dr. Sugon presented proposal to the University Research Council of Ateneo de Manila University in behalf of the group.

About the Proponents

Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Physics of Ateneo de Manila Univer- sity (on leave) and the head of the Upper Atmosphere Dynamics (UAD) program of Manila Observatory (on leave). He is currently working as Associate Professor at the International Center for Space Weather Science and Education (ICSWSE) of Kyushu University. Dr. Felix Muga II is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics of Ateneo de Manila University. His research interests are in Combinatorial Network Theory, Graph Theory, and Data Science. Fr. Daniel J. McNamara, SJ is the Principal Investigator of the Philippine MAGDAS project. He is a Professor of the Department of Physics of Ateneo de Manila University (on leave), Professor at the Department of Physics at Ateneo de Davao University, Rector of the Davao Jesuit Community, and Science Director of Manila Observatory. Fr. Sergio Su, SJ is the head of the Solid Earth Dynamics program of Manila Observatory.

The Moro Gulf experienced 41 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater in the year 2010, with 31 of the quakes occurring in the days July 23-30. The quakes were not destructive, unlike the similar quake that happened in 1976. As the late Fr. Victor Badillo, SJ, the past Director of Manila Observatory and Head of the Upper Atmosphere Division wrote:

“A few minutes after midnight on 17 August 1976, a violent earthquake originating beneath Moro Gulf spawned a tsunami that affected 700 km of coastline bordering Moro Gulf. Residents in those areas experienced what seemed to be the longest thirty minutes of their lives. When the sea had spent its fury and rolled back to its normal cadence, the survivors looked upon the scenes of death and destruction. About 8,000 were dead or missing. About 10,000 were injured and about 90,000 were homeless.”—Fr. Victor Badillo, MO Technical Report, 1976

The Moro Gulf Quake of 2010 was chosen for the study, because it was a significant quake of magnitude greater than M 6.0 that happened on a magnetically quiet day, i.e. there were no geomagnetic storms. In this way, electrical currents due to the rock stresses prior to the quake may be visible in the 1-second resolution MAGDAS magnetometer data for Ultra Low Frequency range of 1 Hz to 1 mHz (period of 1  s to 1,000 s). Also, there were actually three quakes in a one hour period, so that potential quake precursor may be tested thrice, while keeping the epicenter roughly constant. The difficult part, however, is the isolation of lithospheric current signals from pulsations of geomagnetic field lines in the magnetosphere which also have the same frequency ranges.

MAGDAS Magnetometers

At present, the seismoelectromagnetics group is working on the inverse problem of locating ionospheric and lithospheric electrical currents from magnetometer data and determining their distributions, directions, and strengths. The group will use the data sets of nearby MAGDAS magnetometer stations in Cagayan de Oro (CDO) and Davao (DAV).

The present principal investigator of the MAGDAS project is Dr. Akimasa Yoshikawa of the the International Center for Space Weather Science and Education (ICSWSE) of Kyushu University. The Upper Atmosphere Dynamics program of Manila Observatory hosts the ICSWSE Subcenter for coordinating the activities of the MAGDAS network. Clint Benett is the present Coordinator of the Philippine MAGDAS network. And in the absence of Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr, Dr. James B. Simpas serves as the head of the Upper Atmosphere Dynamics (UAD) program, while also serving as the head of both the Urban Air Quality and Instrumentation Technology Development (UAQ/ITD) programs and as the Associate Director for Research at MO.

mo_iswi_muga_simpas_sugon_chan_bennett

Dr. Felix Muga II, Dr. James Simpas, Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr (video screen), Christine Chan, and Mr. Clint Bennett at the Ionosphere Research Building of Manila Observatory

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About quirinosugonjr
Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, Ateneo de Manila University. Program Manager, Upper Atmosphere Dynamics, Manila Observatory.

One Response to Ateneo Physics and Math faculty receive LS Scholarly Work Grant to study seismoelectromagnetics of 2010 Moro Gulf Quake

  1. Pingback: Ateneo Physics faculty Dr. Quirino Sugon Jr receives faculty fellowship at ICSWSE, Kyushu University | ATENEO PHYSICS NEWS

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