Iranian telegraph operator proposed earthquake early warning system in 1909
An Iranian telegraph operator living in the remote desert town of Kerman, in 1909, was the first person to propose an earthquake early warning system.
Washington: An Iranian telegraph operator living in the remote desert town of Kerman, in 1909, was the first person to propose an earthquake early warning system.
Yusef noticed an unusual movement of the magnetic needle of his telegraph instrument and while other telegraph operators during the late 1800s and early 1900s noticed the phenomenon, he proposed an earthquake early warning system.
Nineteenth century telegraph operators in New Zealand, Switzerland, Chile, the Caribbean and elsewhere noted the usefulness of electric telegraph for recording natural phenomena.
But the Iranian telegraph operator and cashier, named Yusef (Joseph), took the next step, suggesting the concept of a local earthquake warning system in a Persian newspaper, The New Iran.
He became aware of anomaly in 1897 and put the knowledge to use in 1909, using the six seconds of warning to urge his fellow dwellers to evacuate the building.
While J.D. Cooper, M.D. is credited with first proposing an early warning system in 1868, which he described in an article printed by The San Francisco Daily Bulletin, the Iranian telegraph operator living on the edge of desert likely had no access to American newspapers. Few newspapers existed at that time in Iran, when the literacy rate did not exceed five percent.
The article has been published in the journal Seismological Research Letters.