Articles | Volume 12, issue 10
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 3181–3190, 2012
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 3181–3190, 2012

Research article 23 Oct 2012

Research article | 23 Oct 2012

Ionospheric effects of earthquakes in Japan in March 2011 obtained from observations of lightning electromagnetic radio signals

V. A. Mullayarov, V. V. Argunov, L. M. Abzaletdinova, and V. I. Kozlov V. A. Mullayarov et al.
  • Yu. G. Shafer Institute of Cosmophysical Research and Aeronomy SB of RAS, Yakutsk, Russia

Abstract. Manifestations of disturbances in the lower ionosphere caused by a complex series of earthquakes (the strong earthquakes with M = 7.3 and M = 9 – known as M9 Tohoku EQ – and the subsequent aftershocks) that occurred near the Japanese island of Honshu have been considered with the use of monitoring measurements of the amplitude of lightning electromagnetic signals (atmospherics) received at Yakutsk. Some data of one-point lightning location systems have been compared with the data of the WWLLN network.

The analysis of hourly values variation of the atmospheric amplitude passing over the earthquake epicenters shows that during the initial period (the strong earthquakes on 9 March and 11 March) a typical pattern of variations was observed. It was manifested in the increased amplitude after both earthquakes. There were also possible precursors in the form of the increase in amplitude 12–14 days before the events. Though the focuses of these earthquakes were very close to each other, the registration of both precursors may indicate that both of the lithospheric processes developed to a certain extent independently.

During all the days of the atmospheric amplitude enhancement the quasi-periodic variation trains were recorded. Together with the delay of earthquake effects relative to the time of the events, they may testify in favor of transferring the energy of lithospheric processes into the lower ionosphere by means of atmospheric gravity waves.