Articles | Volume 7, issue 5
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 7, 629–635, 2007

Special issue: Seismo-tectonic electromagnetic effects and precursory...

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 7, 629–635, 2007

  26 Oct 2007

26 Oct 2007

Anomalous radon emanation linked to preseismic electromagnetic phenomena

Y. Omori1, Y. Yasuoka2, H. Nagahama1, Y. Kawada1,3, T. Ishikawa4, S. Tokonami4, and M. Shinogi2 Y. Omori et al.
  • 1Department of Geoenvironmental Sciences, Graduate School of Science, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
  • 2Institute of Radioisotope Research, Kobe Pharmaceutical University, Kobe, Japan
  • 3School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  • 4National Institute of Radiological Sciences, Chiba, Japan

Abstract. Anomalous emanation of radon (222Rn) was observed preceding large earthquakes and is considered to be linked to preseismic electromagnetic phenomena (e.g. great changes of atmospheric electric field and ionospheric disturbances). Here we analyze atmospheric radon concentration and estimate changes of electrical conditions in atmosphere due to preseismic radon anomaly. The increase of radon emanation obeys crustal damage evolution, following a power-law of time-to-earthquake. Moreover, the radon emanation decreases the atmospheric electric field by 40%, besides influencing the maximum strength of atmospheric electric field by 104–105 V/m enough to trigger ionospheric disturbances. These changes are within the ranges observed or explaining electromagnetic phenomena associated with large earthquakes.