Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 1959-1968, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-11-1959-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
14 Jul 2011
Ultra Low Frequency (ULF) European multi station magnetic field analysis before and during the 2009 earthquake at L'Aquila regarding regional geotechnical information
G. Prattes1, K. Schwingenschuh1, H. U. Eichelberger1, W. Magnes1, M. Boudjada1, M. Stachel1, M. Vellante2,3, U. Villante2,3, V. Wesztergom4, and P. Nenovski5 1Institut für Weltraumforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (IWF/ÖAW), Graz, Austria
2Dipartimento di Fisica, Università dell'Aquila, L'Aquila, Italy
3Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Rome, Italy
4Geodetic and Geophysical Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Sopron, Hungary
5Geophysical Institute, Sofia, Bulgaria
Abstract. This work presents ground based Ultra Low Frequency (ULF) magnetic field measurements in the frequency range from 10–15 mHz from 1 January 2008 to 14 April 2009. In this time period a strong earthquake series hit the Italian Abruzzo region around L'Aquila with the main stroke of magnitude M = 6.3 on 6 April 2009. In the frame of the South European Geomagnetic Array (SEGMA), a European collaboration runs ULF fluxgate instruments providing continuously magnetic field data recorded in mid- and south Europe. The main scientific objective is the investigation of signal variations due to seismic activity and the discrimination between other natural and human influences. The SEGMA station closest to the L'Aquila earthquake epicenter is L'Aquila observatory located in the epicenter region. For the scientific analysis we extract the nighttime period from 22:00–02:00 UT and determine the power spectral density (PSD) of the horizontal (H) and vertical (Z) magnetic field components and the standardized polarization ratio (Z) over (H). To discriminate local emissions from global geomagnetic effects, data from three SEGMA stations in distances up to 630 km from the epicenter region are analyzed and further compared to the independent global geomagnetic ∑ Kp index. Apart from indirect ionospheric effects, electromagnetic noise could be originated in the lithosphere due to tectonic mechanisms in the earthquake focus. To estimate the amplitude of assumed lithospheric electromagnetic noise emissions causing anomalies in the PSD of the (Z) component, we consider magnetotelluric calculations of the electric crust conductivity in the L'Aquila region. Results found at L'Aquila observatory are interpreted with respect to the lithosphere electrical conductivity in the local observatory region, the ∑ Kp index, and further in a multi station analysis. Possible seismic related ULF anomalies occur ~2 weeks before the main stroke.

Citation: Prattes, G., Schwingenschuh, K., Eichelberger, H. U., Magnes, W., Boudjada, M., Stachel, M., Vellante, M., Villante, U., Wesztergom, V., and Nenovski, P.: Ultra Low Frequency (ULF) European multi station magnetic field analysis before and during the 2009 earthquake at L'Aquila regarding regional geotechnical information, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 11, 1959-1968, https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-11-1959-2011, 2011.
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