When we think of cloaking devices, we think of materials that can make space ships or Harry Potter invisible to enemy forces. In theory, these material bend light around an object, hiding it from sight.
Scientists in France propose playing a similar trick on earthquakes. If they’re right, their technique could cloak cities from the seismic waves that rattle buildings and crumble bridges.
In an experiment, the scientists drilled boreholes into the ground five meters deep at a regular interval to essentially create a grid of deep holes. Next, they set up seismographic sensors near the holes to monitor how the energy from an artificially generated quake would propagate through the array.
They found that the energy refracted around the boreholes according to the principals of acoustics. The idea is that civil engineers in highly seismic regions could drill borehole grids around cities or around nuclear plants to deflect the seismic waves from a damaging earthquake.
Their experiment was published in the journal Physical Review Letters.