Predicting earthquakes with radon gas

Radon gas may leak out of fault lines in greater quantities prior to an earthquake. In 2009, an Italian man claimed to have used radon monitors to predict a quake near his hometown of L'Aquila. Success with the radon approach has been—like all attempts at predicting quakes—rather hit and miss. But a physics Nobel laureate hopes to change that with a new, improved radon detector that easier to use in the field.


  1. From a science perspective, this will be very _very_ difficult to prove one way or the other. It’s virtually impossible to collect sufficient data to show correlation of increased Radon output to subsequent earthquake event unless you cover each earthquake zone with lots of detectors. I don’t know the variability of Radon levels but I’d expect the noise floor to be pretty high…

  2. The prediction-science aside, all of these large-scale earthquakes really makes one wonder what in the world is going on down there.

    1. You’ll want to check out this link.

  3. I wonder if pre-earthquake radon gas releases would be responsible for the mysterious lights in the sky people sometimes see before big ‘quakes. Would radon’s radioactive decay be visible in large quantities? Or would radon react with the Earth’s electromagnetic fields in a visible way?

  4. Would it not be easier to simply monitor Moleman activity? Molemen are much larger than radon gas, and are well known to migrate away from quake sites weeks in advance.

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