Conference PaperPDF Available

On the relation between solar activity and seismicity

Authors:

Abstract

Much attention is recently paid to the role of extraterrestrial factors in terrestrial seismicity, and to the possibility to assess the seismic risk. Seven centuries of records of ancient earthquakes in the Mediterranean region show that the century-scale variations in the number of strong earthquakes closely follow the secular cycle of solar activity. Two well expressed maxima in the global yearly number of earthquakes are seen in the 11-year sunspot cycle - one coinciding with sunspot maximum, and the other on the descending phase of solar activity. A day to day study of the number of earthquakes worldwide reveals that the arrival to the Earth of high speed solar streams is related to significantly greater probability of earthquake occurrence. The possible mechanism includes deposition of solar wind energy into the polar ionosphere where it drives ionospheric convection and auroral electrojets, generating in turn atmospheric gravity waves that interact with neutral winds and deposit their momentum in the neutral atmosphere, increasing the transfer of air masses and disturbing of the pressure balance on tectonic plates. The main sources of high speed solar streams are the solar coronal mass ejections (CMEs) which have a maximum in the sunspot maximum, and the coronal holes with a maximum on the descending phase of solar activity. Both coronal holes and CMEs are monitored by satellite-borne and ground-based instruments, which makes it possible to predict periods of enhanced seismic risk. The geoeffectiveness of solar wind from a coronal hole only depends on the position of the hole relative to the Earth, and for the CMEs an additional factor is their speed. It has been recently found that a useful tool in identifying the population of geoeffective CMEs is the detection of long-wavelength (decameter-hectometer) type II solar radio bursts, as the CMEs associated with them are much faster and wider than average.
On
the relation between
solar
activity and seismicity
M. N. Gousheval,
K.
Y.
Georgieva’, B. B. Kiro?,
D.
Atanaso?
‘Institute for Space Research, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
6, Moskovska Str., Sofia
1000,
Bulgaria
2Solar-Terrestrial Influences Laboratory, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Acad. G.Bonchev Str., b1.3, Sofia
1
113, Bulgaria
’Sofia University, Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics
Abstracf
-
Much attention is recently paid to the role of
extraterrestrial factors in terrestrial seismicity, and to the
possibility to assess the seismic risk. Seven centuries of
records of ancient earthquakes in the Mediterranean
region show that the century-scale variations in the
number
of
strong earthquakes closely follow the secular
cycle of solar activity. Two well expressed maxima in the
global yearly number
of
earthquakes are seen in the
11-
year sunspot cycle
-
onc
coinciding with sunspot
maximum, and the other
on
the descending phase of solar
activity. A day to day study of the number of earthquakes
worldwide reveals that the arrival to the Earh of high
speed solar streams is related to significantly greater
probability of earthquake occurrence. The possible
mechanism includes deposition of solar wind energy into
the polar ionosphere where it drives ionospheric
convection and auroral electrojets, generating in
‘turn
atmospheric gravity waves that interact with neutral
winds and deposit their momentum in the neutral
atmosphere, increasing the transfer
of
air masses and
disturbing of the pressure balance
on
tectonic plates. The
main sources
of
high speed solar streams are the solar
coronal mass ejections which have
a
maximum
in
the
sunspot maximum, and the coronal holes with a
maximum
on
the descending phase of solar activity. Both
coronal holes and CMEs are monitored hy satellite-home
and ground-based instruments, which makes possible to
predict periods of enhanced seismic risk. The
geoeffectiveness of
solar
wind from
a
coronal hole only
depends on the position of the hole relative to the Earth,
and for the CMEs an additional factor is their speed. It
has been recently found that a useful tool in identifying
the population of geoeffective CMEs is the detection of
long-wavelength (decameter-hectometer) type I1 solar
radio bursts, as the CMEs associated with them are much
faster and wider than average.
INTRODUCTION
Many authors have studied the role of extraterrestrial
factors in terrestrial seismicity
[1-5].
Different elements
of
solar
activity have been proposed as triggers or seismic
activity: solar proton fluxes [61,
solar
and lunar tides
[7],
high speed solar wind
[8],
earthward movement of the
magnetopause as a result of increased solar wind dynamic
pressure [9]. However, the problem remains
controversial.
LONG-TEFM
EFFECTS
The Catalogue
of
Ancient Earthquakes in the
Mediterranean Area
[IO]
compiles information
gathered from ancient books and chronicles about
earthquakes from 760 BC to 995 AD. The longest set
of
solar
activity data is based
on
the estimations of
Schove
[
111
from records about auroras and sunspot
groups visible with naked eye, where the years
of
minima and maxima of the Il-year solar activity
cycles are given together with the approximate values
of the maxima. Schove’s data set covers the period
from 649 B.C. to present, however the set is
continuous only since-296 AD,
so
we have-ddlta for
both earthquakes and solar activity from 296 to 995
AD. This period covers several secular (so-called
Gleissberg) solar cycles.
For each
1
1-year sunspot cycle, we have compared
the estimated value of the maximum of the cycle to the
number of earthquakes
in
this cycle (Fig.1). The
variations of solar activity statistically account for 47% of
the variations in the number of earthquakes, with p<O.OI.
Fig.1 demonstrates that,
on
time-scales of the order of
centuries, seismic activity follows solar activity.
-
t.&-.--.&--“--
-
:)3
a
’a
ne
m
“-i
Fig.1: Number of earthquakes in the Mediterranean area
summed over the
1
I-year solar cycles (solid line) and
solar activity
in
the maxima of the solar cycles (broken
line) in the period
296-1000;
3-point running means.
0-7803-8 142-4/03/$17.0002003
IEEE
236
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/E,
-
E?/
THE
1
I-YEAR
SOLAR
CYCLE
The statistics about the numbers of earthquakes are
most reliable since the beginning of the 20” century,
so
thc global number
of
seong
(with magnitude
7
or greater)
earthquakes per year is studied, provided by the National
Earthquake Information Center, World Data Center A for
Seismology
(http://neic.usgs.gov/neis/eqlists/7up.html).
The expected effects are small because the variations in
the yearly number of earthquakes as a result of variations
in solar activity are much smaller than the average yearly
number
of
earthquakes which are randomly distributed.
In
cases like this, when
looking
for a relatively small
effect
on
the backgrouid.of other variabilities, widely
used
in
solar-terrestrial physics is the superposed epochs
method [12, 131. There are nine Il-year solar cycles
in
the period 1900-1999. As a reference (zero) year we take
the year of sunspot maximum and calculate the average
number
of
earthquakes in the 9 sunspot maximum years.
For year
(-1)
the average number of earthquakes is
calculated in the 9 years preceding the sunspot maximum
by one year, for year
(+I)
-
the average number
of
earthquakes .in the 9 years following the sunspot
maximum, and
so
on.
Fig.
2
shows the distribution of the
number of earthquakes
in
the Il-year solar cycle as
derived is this way.
0
ElTi
.3
-2
-1
0
1
2
3
4
years
mlatl~e
10
SU~SPOI
manmum
Fig.2: Average number of earthquakes (solid line, left
scale) and
solar
activity (broken line, right scale) in the
1
I-year solar cycle for the period 1900-1999.
Two maxima
in
the average yearly number of
earthquakes are seen
-
one labelled in Fig.2 as “max
1”
(with an average yearly number
of
earthquakes 22.6 and a
standard deviation
S=8.0,
n=9)
coinciding with sunspot
maximum (year
O),
and a second one labelled “max
2”
(21.3 earthquakes with
S=9.08,
n=9)
on
the descending
phase of the sunspot cycle. The means of the number of
earthquakes
in
these two maxima are compared to the
n,
tn2
-2
n,nz
Even if we apply the harder criterion and compare the
average number of earthquakes in the years of sunspot
maximum to the average number of earthquakes in all
yean studied
(n=100),
this gives t1=2.64 and pC0.05. The
maximum in year (+3) is less significant when compared
to the 100-year average (p<O.I) but is well pronounced
and is still highly significant
(p<0.05)
when compared to
the. average number of earthquakes
in
solar cycle
minimum. There results confirm the hypothesis about the
effects
on
earthquake occurrence of solar activity.
HIGH
SPEED SOLAR WIND
In
sunspot maximum there is a maximum of solar
flares, and
on
the descending phase of sunspot cycle
-
a
maximum of the solar coronal holes. Both solar flares and
solar coronal holes are regions of open magnetic flux and
sources of high speed solar wind. To study the relation
between seismic activity and high speed solar wind, we
use data for the whole period of direct measurements of
solar wind parameters
-
January 1973
-
May 2000
(http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/omniwebfj.
We define the
--days
of
arrival to the Earth
of
high speed solar wind as
days with
an
abrupt increase in the
solar
wind velocity (to
no
less than
500
km/sec by at least
100
Ms
in
no
more
than a day) accompanied by a drop in solar wind density
and increase in the temperature. Fig.3 is
an
examplc of
two
such cases
-
on
14
and
on
18
December 1976.
overall mean yearly number
of
earthquakes with
hQ7
in
the
100
year period studied (20.05 with S=7.23,
n=IOO)
and to the average yearly number
of
earthquakes
in
the
IO
years of sunspot minimum (19.0 with S=7.15,
n=10).
To
evaluate the significance
of
the difference, we use the
modified Student’s t-test for small samples:
Fig.3: Parameters of near-Earth solar wind for
2
cases of
high-speed flow;
from
top to bottom: plasma temperature,
K;
ion density, cm”, flow speed,
km/s.
In
the interval
January
1973
-
May 2000 we have
identified 307 cases
of
high-speed solar wind. The
231
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seismic activity for the same period is evaluated by the
number of earthquakes worldwide with magnitude 5.5 or
greater, provided by the National Earthquake Information
Center
(http://quake.geo.berkeley.edu/cnss/).
As an illus-
tration, the average daily number of earthquakes
is
presented in Fig.4
on
the days of arrival of high-speed
solar wind (day
0),
one day before and after the arrival of
the high-speed solar wind (day
-1
and
+I,
respectively),
etc. A well pronounced maximum in the number of
earthquakes is seen
on
the day of arrival of high speed
solar wind and one day after it.
.
has found that in the period 1976-1982, more earthquakes
tend to occur one day before the day of the maximum of
solar wind speed, our third variable is the number of
earthquakes
on
the day before the arrival of high speed
solar wind (“SW-I”). And in the forth variable we
include all the remaining days (“RANDOM). Table
1
demonstrates that two factoi-s are extracted accounting for
55.40% of the observations., and the factor loadings, after
Varimax raw rotation, are presented in Table 2.
Table
1:
Principal components extraction
I
1
Eigenval.
I
%
of total
I
Cumul.
I
Cumul.
I
I
...A
-run
a*.
trr.2
1“”
*er*
WI“
0‘V.I
tyI‘
awn
W.l
,*
I
Fig.4: Average daily number of earthquakes
on
the day of
arrival of high speed solar wind (day
0),
one day before
and after the arrival of high speed
solar
wind (day
-1
and
+I,
rcspectively), etc.
.~
The statistical significance
of
the differencc between
the occurrence of earthquakes
on
different days relative
to the days of arrival of high speed solar wind is
evaluated by the means of the Factor Analysis (Statistica
for Windows, StatSoA, Inc.). The main applications of
factor analytic techniques are:
(I)
to reduce the number
of variables and (2) to detect
a
structure in the
relationships between variables, that is to classify
variables. Therefore, factor analysis
is
applied as a data
reduction or structure detection method. Factor analysis
allows
us
to find the dimensionality of the set of
observations and to locate the variables in these
dimensions. To do this we
use
the Principal Components
Analysis. This analysis gives
us
the main axes of elipsoid
of the observations. If two variables are grouped
in
one
factor this means that they lie in one dimension, or that
they are described by
one,
unobserved, variable. This
variable is supposed to be independent from the variables
which represent the other factors.
So
we can conclude
that the variables
in
different factors are significantly
different.
The data-set we use is the daily number of
earthquakes with M25.5 in the period 1973-2000. We
divide this data-set into four variables. The fmt variable
is the number of earthquakes
on
days of arrival of high-
speed solar wind
(“SW).
The second variable
is
the
number of earthquakes
on
the days following the arrival
ofhigh-speed solar wind
(“SWCI”).
.
As
Sytinskii (1997)
Table
2:
Factor loadings for the two factors with
eigenvalues greater than
1
0.458458
0.049:!59 0.834281
0.798448 0.230324
sw+ -0.308571
“SW
and “SW+” (the day of arrival of high speed
solar wind and the following day) are in one factor, and
the day before the solar day arrival
(“SW-“)
and all other
days (“RANDOM)
-
in
another factor. The clear
differentiation between the distribution of the variables in
the
two
factors is demonstrated
in
Fig.5.
FaIEIICWmOX
Fa-
I
n.
hccw
i
ciu~:v~Mll.u
-.
nmdrrnnrm
1
1.1
U
i
!
?I
a1
a,[
--
-?.-I
_I
.o-*
ua
(ia
sob
u
a9
ta
FMU
1
Fig5 Factor loadings for
the
variables
SW,
SW+,
SW-
and RANDOM (see text).
This means that the daj. of arrival of high speed solar
wind and the day following right after it are “special”
concerning the earthqu,ake appearance, they are
significantly different
from
all other days.
On
the
other
hand, the day before the arrival
of
high speed solar wind
does not differ
in
any way liom all other days.
238
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It should be noted that with increasing the magnitude
of the earthquakes studied (i.e. by reducing the data
sample), the statistical significance of the result
decreases. Besides,
no
clear relation was found between
different manifestations of solar activity and the energy
released in earthquakes.
This
confirms the assertion of
Vidale et al. [14] that all earthquakes
start
in
a similar
fashion, but some grow bigger than other. As the energy
released
is
an exponential function of the magnitude, log
E
=
1.5
M
+
11.8 [15], a much higher weight
is
attributed
to the few strongest earthquakes in the total energy than
to the numerous smaller arthquakes,
so
studying the total
energy released rather than the total number of
earthquakes above a certain magnitude
is
equivalent to
reducing the data set to only the strongest earthquakes.
SUMMARY
AND
DISCUSSION
Most of the studies devoted
U)
the extraterrestrial
factors influencing seismicity deal with tidal forces
resulting from gravitational interaction between the
Earth, Moon and
Sun
[I,
4, 16, 171. Attempts to explain
earthquake triggering by astronomical tides have been
continuing even after the paper of Vidale et al.
[I41
showing the lack of earthquake correlation with tides
[la,
191.
Sytinskii [3], based
on
the case study
of
several strong
earthquakes, suggested that the triggering mechanism for
-:-
earthquake occurrence is not the tidal force but the solar
induced change in atmospheric circulation expressed in
large-scale reorganization of baric fields, and showed that
the
energy of these disturbances is at least 3 orders of
magnitude greater than the energy
of
an
earthquake.
Ludmany and Baranyi [20] argued that the high speed
plasma streams would lead to the modification
of
'the
global atmospheric circulation. Further, Prikryl et al. [21]
studied the response of atmospheric circulation to the
high speed solar wind as mediated by auroral electrojet,
ionospheric convection and atmospheric gravity waves.
Their case study and superposed method analysis of the
variations of the high-level clouds which have been
shown to be a good representation of mid-latitude
cyclones, confirm that gravity waves generated by pulsed
ionospheric convection (auroral electrojet) as a result
of
high speed solar wind MHD wave coupling to the
magnetosphere-ionosphere system, are transmitted to the
lower atmosphere and alter the atmospheric circulation.
several hours to one day is followed by one or more
earthquakes at almost the same latitude and a
substantially higher longitude.
Therefore, the possible mechanism of solar activity
influences
on
seismic activity could include the following
elements: high-speed solar wind streams
-
strengthening
of
auroral electrojet
-
generation of atmospheric gravity
waves
-
changes in atmospheric circulation
-
disrupting
the pressure balance
on
tectonic plates
-
earthquake
triggering.
par*
Fig.6: Yearly number of earthquakes with M>7 in the
period 1900-1997 (solid line) and intensity of zonal
circulation (broken line).
The main source of high-speed solar wind are solar
coronal boles and coronal mags ejections (CMEs). They
are both regularly monitored by satellite and ground-
based instruments, which makes
it
possible to forecast
periods of enhanced seismic risk.
To
he geoeffective, the
solar wind from a coronal hole or from a
CME
has to first
arrive at the Earth,
so
the geoeffectiveness of solar wind
from a both coronal hole and from a CME mainly.
depends
on
their position relative to the Earth. For the
CMEs an additional factor
is
their size and speed. Faster
and wider CMEs are more geoeffective. It has been
recently found [22] that a
useful
tool in identifymg the
population of geoeffective CMEs is the detection
of
long-
wavelength (decameter-hectometer) type
I1
solar radio
bursts, as the CMEs associated with them are much faster
and wider than average. However, much further study is
needed before the enhanced seismic risk related to solar
activity can be reliably evaluated.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We acknowledge for their contributions by providing
services and data products
on
the Internet the Earthquake
Data Base System of the
U.S.
Geological Survey, the
National Earthquake Information Center, Golden CO, the
Northern California Earthquake Data Center (NCEDC),
the
Advanced
National
Seismic System
(ANSS),
the
National
space
science Data
center
at
the NASA
This
study
has
made
use
of
To check the relation between the atmospheric
circulation and seismic activity, we have compared the
long-term
changes
of
the
smngth
of
zonal
circulation
expressed by the temperature contrast between the
equatorial and polar regions, anomalies with respect to
the
period 1961-1990, and the mmber
of
earthquakes
with M27 in the last century (Fig.6). me strengthening of
western winds (i.e. increased transfer
of
air masses from
East to West)
is
accompanied by an increase in the
number of earthquakes. Studying the list of earthquakes,
Space
Fl,ght
NASA
Astmphysical
Data
System,
it can be seen that
ofien
an earthquake in the course
of
239
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240
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... In addition, Simpson (1967) suggested that terrestrial solar flare effects which are actual coupling mechanisms which trigger quakes appear to be either abrupt acceleration in the earth's angular velocity or surge of telluric currents in the earth's crust. Furthermore, Gousheva et al. (2003) proposed that an obvious enhancement of earthquakes occurrence rate happened on the arrival day of high-speed solar wind and one day after it (Gousheva, 2003;Marilia, 2011). ...
... In addition, Simpson (1967) suggested that terrestrial solar flare effects which are actual coupling mechanisms which trigger quakes appear to be either abrupt acceleration in the earth's angular velocity or surge of telluric currents in the earth's crust. Furthermore, Gousheva et al. (2003) proposed that an obvious enhancement of earthquakes occurrence rate happened on the arrival day of high-speed solar wind and one day after it (Gousheva, 2003;Marilia, 2011). ...
... To evaluate an input of different factors in the seismogenic risks the case study of relationship between the seismicity, geomagnetic fields, and mining operations was performed in Khibiny and Lovozero NTS. The relationship between the seismicity and solar activity and geomagnetic disturbances has been repeatedly studied and discussed, starting with the Mallet (1858) (Chizhevsky 1976) as in domestic scientific literature (Shestopalov and Kharin 2004, Shestopalov and Kharin 2006, Sobolev et al. 1982, Sobolev et al. 1998, Sobolev et al. 2001, Surkov 2000, Sytinsky 1973, Sytinsky 1982, Sytinsky 1985, Vladimirsky et al. 1994, Zakrzhevskaja and Sobolev 2002, Zakrzhevskaja and Sobolev 2004), and in foreign scientific literature (Georgieva et al. 2002, Shea et al. 1991, Snyder et al. 1963). The recognition of the direct or indirect correlation of the seismicity and solar activity in the multiyear series taking into account the significant fluctuations of the solar cycle duration dominates among the points of view. ...
... The recognition of the direct or indirect correlation of the seismicity and solar activity in the multiyear series taking into account the significant fluctuations of the solar cycle duration dominates among the points of view. However there are researches (Georgieva et al. 2002, Shestopalov and Kharin 2004, Sytinsky 1982) proving negative correlation between these phenomena. It should be noted that in both cases the most of the studies were carried out on a global scale, dealing with the strongest seismic events of the world. ...
Conference Paper
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To evaluate an input of different factors in the seismogenic risks the study of relationship between seismicity, geomagnetic fields, and mining operations was performed in Khibiny and Lovozero natural-technical systems (NTS). The primary data were based on the regional bulletin of digital recording of seismic events with M>-1 for 1988-2009, as well as on catalogues of K-indices of the local geomagnetic field, evaluated by the "Lovozero" Observatory of Polar Geophysical Institute of Kola Science Center of Russian Academy of Sciences (PGI KSC RAS) since 1996. The time series of seismicity and geomagnetic activity are processed by spectral method based on the calculation of power spectral density.
... Gousheva et al. [12] also made some analysis with the ionospheric perturbations related to the seismic activity using the VLF radio signals collected with the DEME-TER satellite. They monitored on the days of arrival of high-speed solar wind. ...
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