[JITF2020] Closed Earth System: The Earth’s Environment and Disaster Prevention from the Perspective of Earth and Space Exploration

Takeshi Tsuji

Professor and Head of Department of Earth Resources Engineering, Kyushu University, Director of the International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research, Kyushu University, Lead PI, Multi-scale Structural Science Unit, Visiting Professor, Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University, etc.  He finds it fulfilling to visualize the internal structure of the Earth, monitor the dynamics of the earth such as earthquakes and volcanoes, and explore extraterrestrial bodies such as the moon and Mars.  On the other hand, he is studying the problems of CO2 from a sense of responsibility for the global environment.  He is developing technology to reduce and manage CO2 in the atmosphere, considering the earth as a closed system.

Closed Earth System: The Earth’s Environment and Disaster Prevention from the Perspective of Earth and Space Exploration

Geological activities such as earthquakes and volcanoes are phenomena that humans cannot control today.  On the other hand, human activities are causing severe impacts on the surface environment of the earth, such as an increase in carbon dioxide (CO2), triggering global warming and other problems.  So it is necessary to protect human society from severe geological activity while preserving the environment of the earth’s surface, which is in a delicate balance.

Based on research on phenomena that occur inside the earth, I have expressed my views about disaster prevention such as earthquake and volcano prediction and energy technologies that are advantageous for reduction of CO2 considering the material balance of the entire earth.  Furthermore, by studying extraterrestrial planets, I have learned about the characteristics of the earth (the Closed Earth System) and thought of ways to interact with it effectively.

In this lecture, I will introduce (1) attempts to predict earthquakes and volcanoes from the results of the changes that occur inside the earth, (2) the circulation of greenhouse gases in the Closed Earth System estimated from the results of sensing the movements of greenhouse gases (methane hydrate, etc.) inside the earth, and (3) methods of reducing greenhouse gases using the earth (CO2 storage and geothermal power generation).  The earth is actively moving.  It is becoming possible to grasp these movement using recent technology.  I hope this lecture will be an opportunity to gain a sense of the dynamism of the earth and think about how to best interact with the earth.