pure and applied geophysics

, Volume 144, Issue 3, pp 427-440

First online:

Ocean cable measurements of the tsunami signal from the 1992 Cape Mendocino earthquake

  • D. J. ThomsonAffiliated withAT&T Bell Laboratories
  • , L. J. LanzerottiAffiliated withAT&T Bell Laboratories
  • , C. G. MaclennanAffiliated withAT&T Bell Laboratories
  • , L. V. MedfordAffiliated withAT&T Bell Laboratories

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The movement of the seawater across the earth's magnetic field produces a large-scale motional electric field. Using the Point Arena, California, to Hanauma Bay, Hawaii, unpowered HAW-1 cable, we have studied the geopotential across this distance to look for possible tsunami-induced fields that might have been produced following the April 1992 Cape Mendocino earthquake. We have used a ten-day interval prior to and including the earthquake as a reference for geopotential signals and for geomagnetic activity. We have also used geomagnetic data from Point Arena, Honolulu and Boulder as reference data. The results of the analyses show that there are tsunami-related effects in the cable geopotential data. These are (a) larger voltage prediction errors (residuals) for the interval following the main shock; (b) enhanced (compared to the 10d reference interval) geopotential spectral power following the main shock: two enhancements are larger than geomagnetically-induced spectral power enhancements in the same time interval; and (c) strong evidence for an ∼30 min “echo” in the cable geopotential signal following the main shock.

Key words

Tsunami geopotential geomagnetism