Document Type


Publication Date



This contribution is addressed to an introductive university course on the correlation existing between radon emission and earthquakes processes held following a flipped-class approach where students receive didactic materials prior to face-to-face lessons. This research was initially started to investigate the real correlation between Radon emission from the Earth and the occurrence of strong earthquakes by using measurements of hourly Radon flow variation. During quiet seismogenic conditions, we observe an unvarying level of Radon emission in the air. Before a strong earthquake, substantial variations of Radon (222Rn) concentration have been observed in the air, probably because of the increase of thermodynamic energy inside the Earth. The physical processes affecting earthquakes are still not fully understood; therefore, we are interested in investigating a wide variety of signals observed before an earthquake, ranging from chemical, electric, and magnetic variations. The goal is to be able to estimate the earthquake magnitude, timing also location in advance with a good approximation. The experimental observation and research studies were carried out by G. Giuliani Permanent Foundation since 2002 in Abruzzo. The innovative methodology of observations with Gamma detectors allowed us to reveal a close correlation between the different physical phenomena during the preparation phase of strong earthquakes. We master the methodology of measuring the hourly flow of 222Rn gas decay, which provides a good correlation with the occurrence of strong earthquakes. To advance the reliability of our assessment, we added more parameters to our observations, such as magnetic and RF. The joint analysis advances our understanding of the processes underlying the earthquake occurrence. The experimental observation of Radon has been tested for more than a decade in the Abruzzo region. The initial results provided the baseline of reliable correlation between radon variations and earthquakes that could be used as an alert mechanism for the forthcoming seismic events. The multiparametric approach of detecting pre-earthquakes signals provided the robustness in detecting the earthquake preparation phase. There are no doubts that by expanding the network of gamma sensors, we achieve much better signal detection, which is critical for the better spatial correlation of Radon variations with the earthquake processes.


This article was originally published in AAPP | Atti della Accademia Peloritana dei Pericolanti, volume 99, supplement 1, in 2021.

This paper ws contributed to the international workshop entitled “New Horizons in Teaching Science”, which was held in Messina, Italy (18–19 november 2018), under the patronage of the Accademia Peloritana dei Pericolanti.


The authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.