Physical mechanism and mathematical modeling of earthquake ionospheric precursors registered in total electron content
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The physical mechanism by which the regions with increased or decreased total electron content, registered by measuring delays of GPS satellite signals before strong earthquakes, originate in the ionosphere has been proposed. Vertical plasma transfer in the ionospheric F2 region under the action of the zonal electric field is the main disturbance formation factor. This field should be eastward, generating the upward component of plasma electromagnetic drift, in the cases of increased total electron content at midlatitudes and deepened minimum of the F2 layer equatorial anomaly. Upward plasma drift increases electron density due to a decrease in the O+ ion loss rate at midlatitudes and decreases this density above the equator due to an enhancement of the fountain effect (plasma discharge into the equatorial anomaly crests). The pattern of the spatial distribution of the seismogenic electric field potential has been proposed. The eastward electric field can exist in the epicentral region only if positive and negative electric charges are located at the western and eastern boundaries of this region, respectively. The effectiveness of the proposed mechanism was studied by modeling the ionospheric response to the action of the electric field generated by such a charge configuration. The results of the numerical computations indicated that the total electron content before strong earthquakes at middle and low latitudes is in good agreement with the observations.
PACS numbers91.30.Px 94.20.dj
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