Articles | Volume 11, issue 8
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 2173–2180, 2011
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 2173–2180, 2011

Research article 05 Aug 2011

Research article | 05 Aug 2011

Response of the ionospheric electron density to different types of seismic events

Y. He1, D. Yang1, J. Qian2, and M. Parrot3 Y. He et al.
  • 1Institute of Geophysics, China Earthquake Administration, Beijing, China
  • 2Institute of Earthquake Science, China Earthquake Administration, Beijing, China
  • 3Laboratoire de Physique et Chimie de l'Environnement et de l'Espace, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Orléans, France

Abstract. The electron density data recorded by the Langmuir Probe Instrument (ISL, Instrument Sonde de Langmuir) onboard the DEMETER satellite have been collected for nearly 4 yr (during 2006–2009) to perform a statistical analysis. During this time, more than 7000 earthquakes with a magnitude larger than or equal to 5.0 occurred all over the world. For the statistical studies, all these events have been divided into various categories on the basis of the seismic information, including Southern or Northern Hemisphere earthquakes, inland or sea earthquakes, earthquakes at different magnitude levels, earthquakes at different depth levels, isolated events and all events. To distinguish the pre-earthquake anomalies from the possible ionospheric anomalies related to the geomagnetic activity, the data were filtered with the Kp index. The statistical results obviously show that the electron density increases close to the epicentres both in the Northern and the Southern Hemisphere, but the position of the anomaly is slightly shifted to the north in the Northern Hemisphere and to the south in the Southern Hemisphere. The electron density related to both inland and sea earthquakes presents an anomaly approximately close to the epicentres, but the anomaly for sea earthquakes is more significant than for inland earthquakes. The intensity of the anomalies is enhanced when the magnitude increases and is reduced when the depth increases. A similar anomaly can also be seen in the statistical results concerning the isolated earthquakes. All these statistical results can help to better understand the preparation process of the earthquakes and their influence up to the ionospheric levels.