- Japan Health Physics Society
- 保健物理 (ISSN:03676110)
- vol.43, no.3, pp.253-267, 2008 (Released:2010-08-05)
Before the 1995 Hyogoken-Nanbu earthquake, various geochemical precursors were observed in the aftershock area: chloride ion concentration, groundwater discharge rate, groundwater radon concentration and so on. Kobe Pharmaceutical University (KPU) is located about 25km northeast from the epicenter and within the aftershock area. Atmospheric radon concentration had been continuously measured from 1984 at KPU, using a flow-type ionization chamber. The radon concentration data were analyzed using the smoothed residual values which represent the daily minimum of radon concentration with the exclusion of normalized seasonal variation. The radon concentration (smoothed residual values) demonstrated an upward trend about two months before the Hyogoken-Nanbu earthquake. The trend can be well fitted to a log-periodic model related to earthquake fault dynamics. As a result of model fitting, a critical point was calculated to be between 13 and 27 January 1995, which was in good agreement with the occurrence date of earthquake (17 January 1995). The mechanism of radon anomaly before earthquakes is not fully understood. However, it might be possible to detect atmospheric radon anomaly as a precursor before a large earthquake, if (1) the measurement is conducted near the earthquake fault, (2) the monitoring station is located on granite (radon-rich) areas, and (3) the measurement is conducted for more than several years before the earthquake to obtain background data.