Probability, Causality and False Alarms using Correlations Between Strong Earthquakes and NOAA High Energy Electron Bursts

Cristiano Fidani


A proposal for testing the feasibility of strong earthquake forecasting from space, using on board high energy particle detectors of existing NOAA polar satellites, is given. Previously, exceptional increases of particle fluxes prior to and after the largest quakes that struck the Indonesian and the Philippine areas were recently recognised utilising NOAA-15 particle telescopes. A statistically significant correlation between electron bursts of 30 – 100 keV and large seismic events was calculated in previous publications, occurring 2 – 3 hours between seismic events having M ≥ 6 and electron bursts. The 2 – 3 hour correlation supports the hypothesis that there is a physical link between ionospheric charged particle motions at around 2,000 km and seismic activities when earthquake depths are less than 200 km. Taking into account the corresponding electron drift periods and the detector energy corrections, the time interval of a possible physical interaction between high energy electrons of the inner radiation belts and the earth's crust of the future earthquake epicentre has been reduced to about 4 – 6.5 hours. A causal model is proposed for the entire process. Cross-correlation coefficients are calculated starting from the previously obtained correlations, so that a probability of earthquake forecasting corresponding to the 2 – 3 hour peak can be evaluated. Based on these results, false alarms can be reduced in an experiment where such probability is used for one year of average seismic and electron loss detections. Finally, an experiment is proposed here, which is currently feasible using ongoing NOAA satellites and USA West Coast antennas to test the forecasting.


NOAA satellites, Electron bursts, Earthquake forecasting, False alarms

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