Articles | Volume 12, issue 2
Brief communication
09 Feb 2012
Brief communication |  | 09 Feb 2012

Brief communication "Seismic and acoustic-gravity signals from the source of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami"

A. Raveloson, R. Wang, R. Kind, L. Ceranna, and X. Yuan

Abstract. The great Sumatra-Andaman earthquake of 26 December 2004 caused seismic waves propagating through the solid Earth, tsunami waves propagating through the ocean and infrasound or acoustic-gravity waves propagating through the atmosphere. Since the infrasound wave travels faster than its associated tsunami, it is for warning purposes very intriguing to study the possibility of infrasound generation directly at the earthquake source. Garces et al. (2005) and Le Pichon et al. (2005) emphasized that infrasound was generated by mountainous islands near the epicenter and by tsunami propagation along the continental shelf to the Bay of Bengal. Mikumo et al. (2008) concluded from the analysis of travel times and amplitudes of first arriving acoustic-gravity waves with periods of about 400–700 s that these waves are caused by coseismic motion of the sea surface mainly to the west of the Nicobar islands in the open seas. We reanalyzed the acoustic-gravity waves and corrected the first arrival times of Mikumo et al. (2008) by up to 20 min. We found the source of the first arriving acoustic-gravity wave about 300 km to the north of the US Geological Survey earthquake epicenter. This confirms the result of Mikumo et al. (2008) that sea level changes at the earthquake source cause long period acoustic-gravity waves, which indicate that a tsunami was generated. Therefore, a denser local network of infrasound stations may be helpful for tsunami warnings, not only for very large earthquakes.