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  HOME | Science, Nature & Technology

Mexican Geophysicists Making X-Rays of Earth to Help Heal Its Wounds

MEXICO CITY – Mexican geophysicists who study the structure, composition and behavior of Earth are using their precise analytical tools to X-ray the planet’s innards and determine what problems are affecting it and what possible solutions are available.

Pollution and soil deterioration, seismic movements, finding underground water and the evolution of the continents are just some of the things being studied as part of the scientific discipline closely linked to the environment, physicist Rene Chavez told EFE on Sunday.

To gather the appropriate data, it is essential to study electromagnetic fields, since they help scientists understand what is occurring inside the Earth and provide a broad panorama of “the characteristics of the continents.”

Something similar occurs with seismic waves, which can be reproduced by human-made devices to make subterranean discoveries, the researcher with the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s (UNAM) Geophysics Institute said.

“We reproduce them at very low frequency, but using them we can study the Earth’s interior and deduce the site of faults, structures where petroleum can accumulate or try to see where there’s water,” said Chavez, adding that “we can use these kinds of things to our benefit.”

Scientists can also create electromagnetic waves that help detect water pollution by measuring its salinity.

The Geophysics Institute has observed that water with excessive salt content is being extracted from wells in various Mexican towns.

“This is very useful because you can make models afterwards to place the wells in different spots and ... can control the way in which the water is extracted,” he said.

He also said that pollutants can be detected using the same techniques and the studies can tell what kind of things are contaminating the soil, thus giving the government pollution “maps” and allowing it to make better decisions on how to deal with the problem.

UNAM also has an institute to study atmospheric science, including climate change and solar radiation.

 

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