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International Journal of Geophysics
Volume 2012, Article ID 307517, 6 pages
Research Article

Medium-Term Earthquake Forecast Using Gravity Monitoring Data: Evidence from the Yutian and Wenchuan Earthquakes in China

1Institute of Geodesy and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430077, China
2Second Crust Monitoring and Application Center, China Earthquake Administration, Xi’an 710054, China
3School of Resource and Environmental Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China
4Texas Center for Geographic Information Science, Department of Geography, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666, USA

Received 15 July 2011; Accepted 28 December 2011

Academic Editor: Jiancang Zhuang

Copyright © 2012 Yiqing Zhu and F. Benjamin Zhan. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Gravity changes derived from regional gravity monitoring data in China from 1998 to 2005 exhibited noticeable variations before the occurrence of two large earthquakes in 2008 in China—the 2008 Yutian (Xinjiang) earthquake and the 2008 Wenchuan (Sichuan) earthquake. Based on these gravity variations, a group of researchers at the Second Crust Monitoring and Application Center of China Earthquake Administration made a suggestion in December of 2006 that the possibility for the Yutian (Xinjiang) and Wenchuan (Sichuan) areas to experience a large earthquake in either 2007 or 2008 was high. We review the gravity monitoring data and methods upon which the researchers reached these medium-term earthquake forecasts. Experience related to the medium-term forecasts of the Yutian and Wenchuan earthquakes suggests that gravity changes derived from regional gravity monitoring data could potentially be a useful medium-term precursor of large earthquakes, but significant additional research is needed to validate and evaluate this hypothesis.