Acta Geophysica

, Volume 58, Issue 5, pp 719–766 | Cite as

Toward a unified solid state theory for pre-earthquake signals

  • Friedemann Freund


Many different non-seismic pre-earthquake signals have been reported but there is great uncertainty about their origin, their correlation to each other and to the impending seismic event. The discovery of stress-activated electric currents in rocks provides a possible explanation. Stresses activate electronic charge carriers, namely defect electrons in the oxygen anion sublattice, equivalent to O in a matrix of O2−, also known as positive holes. These charge carriers pre-exist in unstressed rocks in a dormant, electrically inactive state as peroxy links, O3Si-OO-SiO3, where two O are tightly bound together. Under stress dislocations sweep through the mineral grains causing the peroxy links to break. Positive holes, thus generated, flow down stress gradients, constituting an electric current with attendant magnetic field variations and EM emissions. The positive holes accumulate at the surface, creating electric fields, strong enough to field-ionize air molecules. They also recombine leading to a spectroscopically distinct IR emission seen in laboratory experiments and night-time infrared satellite images. In addition positive holes interact with radon in the soil, affecting the radon emanation.

Key words

pre-earthquake signals peroxy positive holes EM emissions earthquake lights thermal infrared anomalies radon emanation 


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Copyright information

© © Versita Warsaw and Springer-Verlag Wien 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NASA Ames Research CenterMoffett FieldUSA
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsSan Jose State UniversitySan JoseUSA
  3. 3.Carl Sagan CenterSETI InstituteMountain ViewUSA

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