Articles | Volume 12, issue 1
Research article
09 Jan 2012
Research article |  | 09 Jan 2012

Phenomena of electrostatic perturbations before strong earthquakes (2005–2010) observed on DEMETER

X. Zhang, X. Shen, M. Parrot, Z. Zeren, X. Ouyang, J. Liu, J. Qian, S. Zhao, and Y. Miao

Abstract. During the DEMETER operating period in 2004–2010, many strong earthquakes took place in the world. 69 strong earthquakes with a magnitude above 7.0 during January 2005 to February 2010 were collected and analysed. The orbits, recorded in local nighttime by satellite, were chosen by a distance of 2000 km to the epicentres during the 9 days around these earthquakes, with 7 days before and 1 day after. The anomaly is defined when the disturbances in the electric field PSD increased to at least 1 order of magnitude relative to the normal median level about 10−2μV2/m2/Hz at 19.5–250 Hz frequency band, and the starting point of perturbations not exceeding 10° relsupative to the epicentral latitude. Among the 69 earthquakes, it is shown that electrostatic perturbations were detected at ULF-ultra low frequency and ELF-extremely low frequency band before the 32 earthquakes, nearly 46%. Furthermore, we extended the searching scale of these perturbations to the globe, and it can be found that before some earthquakes, the electrostatic anomalies were distributed in a much larger area a few days before, and then they concentrated to the closest orbit when the earthquake would happen one day or a few hours later, which reflects the spatial developing feature during the seismic preparation process. The results in this paper contribute to a better description of the electromagnetic (EM) disturbances at an altitude of 660–710 km in the ionosphere that can help towards a further understanding of the lithosphere-atmosphere-ionosphere (LAI) coupling mechanism.