Articles | Volume 10, issue 2
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 10, 275–294, 2010

Special issue: Ground and satellite based observations during the time of...

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 10, 275–294, 2010

  16 Feb 2010

16 Feb 2010

Unfolding the procedure of characterizing recorded ultra low frequency, kHZ and MHz electromagnetic anomalies prior to the L'Aquila earthquake as pre-seismic ones - Part 2

K. Eftaxias1, G. Balasis2, Y. Contoyiannis1, C. Papadimitriou1, M. Kalimeri1, L. Athanasopoulou1, S. Nikolopoulos3, J. Kopanas1, G. Antonopoulos1, and C. Nomicos4 K. Eftaxias et al.
  • 1Section of Solid State Physics, Department of Physics, University of Athens, Panepistimiopolis, Zografos, 15784, Athens, Greece
  • 2Institute for Space Applications and Remote Sensing, National Observatory of Athens, Metaxa and Vas. Pavlou, Penteli, 15236, Athens, Greece
  • 3Centre de Recherche de l'ICM, INSERM UMRS 975 - CNRS UMR 7225, Hopital de la Pitie-Salpetriere, Paris, France
  • 4Department of Electronics, Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Ag. Spyridonos, Egaleo, 12210, Athens, Greece

Abstract. Ultra low frequency-ULF (1 Hz or lower), kHz and MHz electromagnetic (EM) anomalies were recorded prior to the L'Aquila catastrophic earthquake (EQ) that occurred on 6 April 2009. The detected anomalies followed this temporal scheme. (i) The MHz EM anomalies were detected on 26 March 2009 and 2 April 2009. The kHz EM anomalies were emerged on 4 April 2009. The ULF EM anomaly was appeared from 29 March 2009 up to 3 April 2009. The question effortlessly arises as to whether the observed anomalies before the L'Aquila EQ were seismogenic or not. The main goal of this work is to provide some insight into this issue. More precisely, the main aims of this contribution are threefold: How can we recognize an EM observation as pre-seismic one? We aim, through a multidisciplinary analysis to provide some elements of a definition. How can we link an individual EM anomaly with a distinctive stage of the EQ preparation process? The present analysis is consistent with the hypothesis that the kHz EM anomalies were associated with the fracture of asperities that were distributed along the L'Aquila fault sustaining the system, while the MHz EM anomalies could be triggered by fractures in the highly disordered system that surrounded the backbone of asperities of the activated fault. How can we identify precursory symptoms in an individual EM precursor that indicate that the occurrence of the EQ is unavoidable? We clearly state that the detection of a MHz EM precursor does not mean that the occurrence of EQ is unavoidable; the abrupt emergence of kHz EM emissions indicate the fracture of asperities. The observed ULF EM anomaly supports the hypothesis of a relationship between processes produced by increasing tectonic stresses in the Earth's crust and attendant EM interactions between the crust and ionosphere. We emphasize that we attempt to specify not only whether or not a single EM anomaly is pre-seismic in itself, but mainly whether a combination of emergent ULF, MHz and kHz EM anomalies could be characterized as pre-earthquake.