Gateway for:

Member Countries

Seismogenic Disturbances of the Lower Ionosphere


Electric Field Driven Disturbances in the Lower Ionosphere Caused by Seismic Activity

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-SEM/Seismic Monitoring/Environment
  • OBS-NAT/Natural Resources and Earth Sciences/Other Basic Sciences

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Institute of Physics of the Earth, Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • The Kamchatkan Branch of Geophysical Survey, the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia, Kamchatka reg., Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky\nInstitute of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Russia, Sakhalin reg., Yujno-Sakhalinsk


  • University of Electro-Communications / Department of Electronic Engineering, Japan, Tokyo\nInstitut fur Weltraumforschung / Osterreichisch Akademie der Wissenschaftem, Austria, Graz\nCNRS / Laboratoire de Physique et Chemie de L'Environnement, France, Orleans\nUniversita Degli Studi di Bari, Italy, Bari

Project summary

This project is devoted to investigation of the electric field driven disturbances in the lower ionosphere caused by intensification of seismic activity, and to the development of comprehensive theoretical model for the seismic factors influencing the ionosphere. The project is based on the recently obtained statistically meaningful satellite data on the electric field and plasma perturbations in the ionosphere over earthquake zones, which confirm the earlier reported singular observations.

As a basis for the theoretical modeling we will use a mechanism of the electric field generation in the ionosphere by the external currents excited in closed atmosphere-ionosphere electric circuit due to emission of charged aerosols and radioactive substances (radon, radium, thorium, actinium and the decay products) into the atmosphere during enhancement of seismic activity.

Basic experimental works will be performed in Kuril Islands and the Kamchatka region of the Russian Federation, where the seismic activity is highest over the country. There will be deployed the regular measurements of the water and soil aerosol fluxes and the radioactive substances (radon, etc.) and the simultaneous measurements of the propagation characteristics of electromagnetic waves in the Earth-ionosphere waveguide, which are sensible to the alteration of the lower ionosphere parameters. Among them are the phase and amplitude variations of VLF and LF transmitter signals at the appropriate propagation routes and the spectral and wave characteristics of ULF electromagnetic emissions of natural origin. The signal arrival direction finding will be performed in each of these frequency ranges. Comparison of the obtained results with seismic data will allow us to define the existence (or absence) of correlation between the measured parameters and their cause-sequence links with seismic activity. Accompany satellite data on the electric field, wave emissions and plasma disturbances obtained over the regions of ground observations will increase the reliability of the results and conclusions arose from the ground measurements. In cooperation with scientists from LPCE we will use the experimental data from the DEMETER satellite.

Further development and generalization of electrodynamic model of the atmosphere-ionosphere coupling based on recent experimental data will be conducted according to the following tasks:

  • Development of the numerical methods for 3D-distribution of DC electric field in closed atmosphere-ionosphere electric circuit, which is generated by external electric current excited in the lower atmosphere;
  • Development of the theoretical model for the disturbances of the D-, E- and F- layers of the ionosphere connected with the generation of external current. For the D- layer we will consider the effect of replacement of the charge carriers type at the inflow of external current from the atmosphere into the ionosphere and the redistribution of charged particle density leading to the formation of horizontal inhomogeneities. For the E- region the computation of anomalous sporadic layers will be performed.
  • Development of the theory of acoustic-gravity wave instability in the ionosphere under influence of DC electric field taking into account the relative motion of ionized and neutral plasma components and various inclinations of the magnetic field.
  • Development of the theory of nonlinear vortex structures and related disturbances in the ionosphere influenced by the electric field and some other factors caused by seismic activity.
  • Development of the theory for the formation of breakdown electric fields and electric discharges in the troposphere and stratosphere over seismically active zone. We plan to study the radiation characteristics of these discharges and their influence on the electric conductivity of the atmosphere.
  • Development of the generation theory of ultra low frequency (ULF) waves in the interaction process of gyrotropic waves with conductivity inhomogeneities in the ionosphere. Discrete spectra of ULF emissions will be computed for different latitudes.

It is expected that the parallel development of the experimental studies and the theoretical modeling within the frame of this project will provide substantial advance in understanding the nature of seismo-ionospheric interaction and forming the scientific base for the elaboration of practical methods of the discrimination of pre-earthquake disturbances in the ionosphere.

The majority of the project participants were involved earlier in the development of military research and developments. The proposed project will provide the work for these highly skilled scientists. The members of the teams, which are working on the project, will participate in international conferences and publishing the papers in international journals and, thus be integrated into the works of international scientific community.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

Promotional Material

Значимы проект

See ISTC's new Promotional video view