Radon earthquake precursor: A short review
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- Woith, H. Eur. Phys. J. Spec. Top. (2015) 224: 611. doi:10.1140/epjst/e2015-02395-9
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More than 100 publications reporting radon anomalies to precede earthquakes were evaluated. A clear apparent negative correlation between the number of reported anomalies and the published length of the timeseries is evident. 19% of all timeseries are longer than 5 years, characterized by a precursor rate of less than one precursor per year, the extreme case being 1 anomaly in 18 years of monitoring. Contrary, precursor rates between 1 and more than 10 precursors per year stem from published timeseries shorter than 3 years. Nearly 50% of the timeseries contain exactly one radon anomaly, independent of the length of the observation interval. Generally, the number of anomalies is about 5 times higher at sites where radon is measured in soil air as compared to radon in groundwater. In conclusion: (i) significant radon anomalies exist, and (ii) seismo-tectonically induced radon anomalies probably exist. But, radon anomalies of non-tectonic origin also exist and may look strikingly similar to tectonic ones. Thus, presumably only a fraction of all reported radon precursors are real in the sense that they are physically related to the preparation process of an impending earthquake.