Characteristics of flux-time profiles, temporal evolution, and spatial distribution of radiation-belt electron precipitation bursts in the upper ionosphere before great and giant earthquakes

Georgios C. Anagnostopoulos, Efthymios Vassiliadis, Sergey Pulinets


The analysis of energetic electron observations made by the DEMETER satellite reveals that radiation belt electron precipitation (RBEP) bursts are observed in general several (~1-6 days) before a large (M > 6.5) earthquake (EQ) in the presence of broad band (~1-20 kHz) VLF waves. The EBs show in general a relative peak-to-background flux increase usually < 100, they have a time duration of ~0.5 – 3 min, and their energy spectrum reach up to energies <~500 keV. The RBEP activity is observed as one, two or three EBs throughout a semi-orbit, depended on the magnetic field structure above the EQ epicenter. A statistical analysis has been made for earthquakes in Japan, which reveals a standard temporal variation of the number of EBs, which begins with an incremental rate several days before major earthquakes, and after a maximum, decreases so that the electron precipitation ceases above the epicenter. Some earthquake induced EBs were observed not only in the nightside ionosphere, but also in the dayside ionosphere.



Earthquake precursors, particle precipitation, wave particle interactions

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X