After DEMETER satellite mission (2004-2010), the launch of the Swarm satellites (Alpha (A), Bravo (B) and Charlie (C)) has created a new opportunity in the study of earthquake ionospheric precursors. Nowadays, there is no doubt that multi precursors analysis is a necessary phase to better understand the LAIC (Lithosphere Atmosphere Ionosphere Coupling) mechanism before large earthquakes. In this study, using absolute scalar magnetometer, vector field magnetometer and electric field instrument on board Swarm satellites, GPS (Global Positioning System) measurements, MODIS-Aqua satellite and ECMWF (European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) data, the variations of the electron density and temperature, magnetic field, TEC (Total Electron Content), LST (Land Surface Temperature), AOD (Aerosol Optical Depth) and SKT (SKin Temperature) have been surveyed to find the potential seismic anomalies around the strong Ecuador (Mw = 7.8) earthquake of 16 April 2016. The four solar and geomagnetic indices: F10.7, Dst, Kp and ap were investigated to distinguish whether the preliminary detected anomalies might be associated with the solar-geomagnetic activities instead of the seismo-ionospheric anomalies. The Swarm satellites (A, B and C) data analysis indicate the anomalies in time series of electron density variations on 7, 11 and 12 days before the event; the unusual variations in time series of electron temperature on 8 days preceding the earthquake; the analysis of the magnetic field scalar and vectors data show the considerable anomalies 52, 48, 23, 16, 11, 9 and 7 days before the main shock. A striking anomaly is detected in TEC variations on 1 day before earthquake at 9:00 UTC. The analysis of MODIS-Aqua night-time images shows that LST increase unusually on 11 days prior to main shock. In addition, the AOD variations obtained from MODIS measurements reach the maximum value on 10 days before the earthquake. The SKT around epicentral region presents anomalous higher value about 40 days before the earthquake. It should be noted that the different lead times of the observed anomalies could be acknowledged based on a reasonable LAIC earthquake mechanism. Our results emphasize that the Swarm satellites measurements play an undeniable role in progress the studies of the ionospheric precursors.

Authors: 
Akhoondzadeh, M., De Santis, A., Marchetti, D., Piscini, A. and Cianchini, G
Journal: 
Advances in Space Research, Volume 61, Issue 1, p. 248-263
Publication Year: 
2018
DOI: 
10.1016/j.asr.2017.07.014