On the reported ionospheric precursor of the 1999 Hector Mine, California earthquake

Geophysical Research Letters
By: , and 

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Abstract

Using Global Positioning System (GPS) data from sites near the 16 Oct. 1999 Hector Mine, California earthquake, Pulinets et al. (2007) identified anomalous changes in the ionospheric total electron content (TEC) starting one week prior to the earthquake. Pulinets (2007) suggested that precursory phenomena of this type could be useful for predicting earthquakes. On the other hand, and in a separate analysis, Afraimovich et al. (2004) concluded that TEC variations near the epicenter were controlled by solar and geomagnetic activity that were unrelated to the earthquake. In an investigation of these very different results, we examine TEC time series of long duration from GPS stations near and far from the epicenter of the Hector Mine earthquake, and long before and long after the earthquake. While we can reproduce the essential time series results of Pulinets et al., we find that the signal they identify as anomalous is not actually anomalous. Instead, it is just part of normal global-scale TEC variation. We conclude that the TEC anomaly reported by Pulinets et al. is unrelated to the Hector Mine earthquake.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title On the reported ionospheric precursor of the 1999 Hector Mine, California earthquake
Series title Geophysical Research Letters
DOI 10.1029/2012GL051022
Volume 39
Issue 6
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Hector Mine
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N