2008 年 43 巻 2 号 p. 103-111
The relationship between radon anomalies and earthquakes has been studied for more than 30 years. However, most of the studies dealt with radon in soil gas or in groundwater. Before the 1995 Hyogoken-Nanbu earthquake, an anomalous increase of atmospheric radon was observed at Kobe Pharmaceutical University. The increase was well fitted with a mathematical model related to earthquake fault dynamics. This paper reports the significance of this observation, reviewing previous studies on radon anomaly before earthquakes. Groundwater/soil radon measurements for earthquake prediction began in 1970's in Japan as well as foreign countries. One of the most famous studies in Japan is groundwater radon anomaly before the 1978 Izu-Oshima-kinkai earthquake. We have recognized the significance of radon in earthquake prediction research, but recently its limitation was also pointed out. Some researchers are looking for a better indicator for precursors; simultaneous measurements of radon and other gases are new trials in recent studies. Contrary to soil/groundwater radon, we have not paid much attention to atmospheric radon before earthquakes. However, it might be possible to detect precursors in atmospheric radon before a large earthquake. In the next issue, we will discuss the details of the anomalous atmospheric radon data observed before the Hyogoken-Nanbu earthquake.