14 Jun 2024
 | 14 Jun 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Simulation of a lithosphere-atmosphere-ionosphere electromagnetic coupling prior to the Wenchuan MS8.0 earthquake

Mei Li, Zhuangkai Wang, Chen Zhou, Handong Tan, and Meng Cao

Abstract. Continuously to a previous work on qualitatively investigating the probable electromagnetic interacting process among lithosphere, atmosphere and ionosphere, this work aims to quantitatively establish an electromagnetic coupling model among these three spheres prior to the Wenchuan earthquake. Firstly, a underground finite length electrical dipole in a half-space model has been employed to estimate the possible “energy source” for an observable 1.3 mV m-1 electrical field registered at 1440 km Gaobeidian station during the Wenchuan event. The result shows that the seismo-telluric current covers ~105–106 kA if the measuring frequency f = 0.01–10 Hz considered. The central magnitude of the vertical electrical field caused by the current at 0.01 Hz on the Earth’s surface can be up to kV m-1. Then, this vertical field acts as an input into an electric field penetration model. It is shown that this field attenuates quickly at the atmosphere and completely vanishes at the top ionosphere and produces a 0.1 mV m-1 additional electrical field at the ionospheric bottom. Through the TIE-GCM, this additional electrical field causes 0.01 % ionospheric variations on electron density and TEC near the Wenchuan epicenter, as well as near its magnetically conjugated point. Further, the simulations have also been discussively performed on frequencies of 1 Hz and 10 Hz. The results demonstrate that the variations of electron density present their maximum values at the height of ~300–400 km and the varied percentages of ionospheric parameters have been beyond 10 %, the same magnitude as what has been registered during the Wenchuan shock.

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Mei Li, Zhuangkai Wang, Chen Zhou, Handong Tan, and Meng Cao

Status: open (until 30 Jul 2024)

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Mei Li, Zhuangkai Wang, Chen Zhou, Handong Tan, and Meng Cao
Mei Li, Zhuangkai Wang, Chen Zhou, Handong Tan, and Meng Cao


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Short summary
In order to check the relationship between ground-based electromagnetic anomaly and ionospheric effect before the famous Wenchuan MS 8.0 earthquake, three physical models have been established to simulate the communication process of electromagnetic energy from the Wenchuan hypocenter to the Earth’s surface, via the atmosphere to the ionosphere to cause ionospheric variations.