Modification of the low-latitude ionosphere before the 26 December 2004 Indonesian earthquake
- 1West Department of IZMIRAN, Kaliningrad, Russia
- 2Institute of Geodesy, University of Warmia and Mazury, Olsztyn, Poland
Abstract. This paper investigates the features of pre-earthquake ionospheric anomalies in the total electron content (TEC) data obtained on the basis of regular GPS observations from the IGS network. For the analysis of the ionospheric effects of the 26 December 2004 Indonesian earthquake, global TEC maps were used. The possible influence of the earthquake preparation processes on the main low-latitude ionosphere peculiarity – the equatorial anomaly – is discussed. Analysis of the TEC maps has shown that modification of the equatorial anomaly occurred a few days before the earthquake. For 2 days prior to the event, a positive effect was observed in the daytime amplification of the equatorial anomaly. Maximal enhancement in the crests reached 20 TECU (50–60%) relative to the non-disturbed state. In previous days, during the evening and night hours (local time), a specific transformation of the TEC distribution had taken place. This modification took the shape of a double-crest structure with a trough near the epicenter, though usually in this time the restored normal latitudinal distribution with a maximum near the magnetic equator is observed. It is assumed that anomalous electric field generated in the earthquake preparation zone could cause a near-natural "fountain-effect" phenomenon and might be a possible cause of the observed ionospheric anomaly.