Possible Short-Term Precursors of Strong Crustal Earthquakes in Japan based on Data from the Ground Stations of Vertical Ionospheric Sounding
We have studied changes in the ionosphere prior to strong crustal earthquakes with magnitudes of М ≥ 6.5 based on the data from the ground-based stations of vertical ionospheric sounding Kokobunji, Akita, and Wakkanai for the period 1968–2004. The data are analyzed based on hourly measurements of the virtual height and frequency parameters of the sporadic E layer and critical frequency of the regular F2 layer over the course of three days prior to the earthquakes. In the studied intervals of time before all earthquakes, anomalous changes were discovered both in the frequency parameters of the Es and F2 ionospheric layers and in the virtual height of the sporadic E layer; the changes were observed on the same day at stations spaced apart by several hundred kilometers. A high degree of correlation is found between the lead-time of these ionospheric anomalies preceding the seismic impact and the magnitude of the subsequent earthquakes. It is concluded that such ionospheric disturbances can be short-term ionospheric precursors of earthquakes.
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