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Palo Alto, CA, United States

Dunson J.C.,QuakeFinder LLC. | Bleier T.E.,QuakeFinder LLC. | Roth S.,QuakeFinder LLC. | Heraud J.,Catholic University of Peru | And 2 more authors.
Natural Hazards and Earth System Science

The QuakeFinder network of magnetometers has recorded geomagnetic field activity in California since 2000. Established as an effort to follow up observations of ULF activity reported from before and after the M Combining double low line 7.1 Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 by Stanford University, the QuakeFinder network has over 50 sites, fifteen of which are high-resolution QF1005 and QF1007 systems. Pairs of high-resolution sites have also been installed in Peru and Taiwan. Increases in pulse activity preceding nearby seismic events are followed by decreases in activity afterwards in the three cases that are discussed here. In addition, longer term data is shown, revealing a rich signal structure not previously known in QuakeFinder data, or by many other authors who have reported on pre-seismic ULF phenomena. These pulses occur as separate ensembles, with demonstrable repeatability and uniqueness across a number of properties such as waveform, angle of arrival, amplitude, and duration. Yet they appear to arrive with exponentially distributed inter-arrival times, which indicates a Poisson process rather than a periodic, i.e., stationary process. These pulses were observed using three-axis induction coil magnetometers that are buried 1-2 m under the surface of the Earth. Our sites use a Nyquist frequency of 16 Hertz (25 Hertz for the new QF1007 units), and they record these pulses at amplitudes from 0.1 to 20 nano-Tesla with durations of 0.1 to 12 s. They are predominantly unipolar pulses, which may imply charge migration, and they are stronger in the two horizontal (north-south and east-west) channels than they are in the vertical channels. Pulses have been seen to occur in bursts lasting many hours. The pulses have large amplitudes and study of the three-axis data shows that the amplitude ratios of the pulses taken from pairs of orthogonal coils is stable across the bursts, suggesting a similar source. This paper presents three instances of increases in pulse activity in the 30 days prior to an earthquake, which are each followed by steep declines after the event. The pulses are shown, methods of detecting the pulses and calculating their azimuths is developed and discussed, and then the paper is closed with a brief look at future work. © 2011 Author(s). Source

Bortnik J.,University of California at Los Angeles | Bleier T.E.,QuakeFinder LLC. | Dunson C.,QuakeFinder LLC. | Freund F.,NASA | Freund F.,Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute
Annales Geophysicae

We use a relatively simple model of an underground current source co-located with the earthquake hypocenter to estimate the magnitude of the seismotelluric current required to produce observable ground signatures. The Alum Rock earthquake of 31 October 2007, is used as an archetype of a typical California earthquake, and the effects of varying the ground conductivity and length of the current element are examined. Results show that for an observed 30 nT pulse at 1 Hz, the expected seismotelluric current magnitudes fall in the range ∼10-100 kA. By setting the detectability threshold to 1 pT, we show that even when large values of ground conductivity are assumed, magnetic signals are readily detectable within a range of 30 km from the epicenter. When typical values of ground conductivity are assumed, the minimum current required to produce an observable signal within a 30 km range was found to be ∼1 kA, which is a surprisingly low value. Furthermore, we show that deep nulls in the signal power develop in the non-cardinal directions relative to the orientation of the source current, indicating that a magnetometer station located in those regions may not observe a signal even though it is well within the detectable range. This result underscores the importance of using a network of magnetometers when searching for preseismic electromagnetic signals. © 2010 Author(s). Source

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