Pre-seismic variations of atmospheric radon activity as a possible reason for abnormal atmospheric effects

Vadim V. Surkov


Possible atmospheric effects associated with pre-seismic variations of atmospheric radon concentration occasionally observed prior to earthquake occurrence are subjected to theoretical study in order to assess their potential effectiveness. Altitude distribution of atmospheric conductivity is examined as a function of radon and aerosol concentrations. Horizontal components of atmospheric electric fields and currents, which can arise near a boundary of seismo-active region, are estimated. We speculated that changes in radon-induced air ionization can have an impact on fair-weather spectra of ULF electric pulsations. Particular emphasis has been placed on hypothesis for correlation between variations of pre-seismic radon activity and upward thermal radiation measured by satellite over the high seismicity regions. This hypothesis is based on assumption that the radon-induced ionization of atmospheric surface layer can trigger water vapor condensation which in turn results in release of the vaporization heat. Our analysis has shown that the upward thermal flux has to be many orders of magnitude lower than that predicted on the basis of this hypothesis.


Atmospheric radon; Earthquake; Atmospheric conductivity; Ultra low frequency electric pulsations

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