Coseismic Traveling Ionospheric Disturbances during the Mw 7.8 Gorkha, Nepal, Earthquake on 25 April 2015 From Ground and Spaceborne Observations

S. Tulasi Ram, P. S. Sunil, M. Ravi Kumar, S. Y. Su, L. C. Tsai, C. H. Liu

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Coseismic traveling ionospheric disturbances (CTIDs) and their propagation characteristics during Mw 7.8 Gorkha earthquake in Nepal on 25 April 2015 have been investigated using a suite of ground-based GPS receivers and broadband seismometers along with the spaceborne radio occultation observations over the Indian subcontinent region. Depletion in vertical total electron content, a so called ionospheric hole, is observed near the epicenter ~9–11 min after the onset of earthquake. A positive pulse preceding the depletion, similar to N-shaped perturbation, propagating with an apparent velocity of ~2.4 km/s is observed on the south. Further, the CTIDs in the southward direction are found to split in to fast (~2.4–1.7 km/s) and slow (~680–520 m/s) propagating modes at epicentral distances greater than ~800 km. However, the velocities of fast mode CTIDs are significantly smaller than the surface Rayleigh wave velocity (~3.7 km/s), indicating that they are not the true imprint of Rayleigh wave, instead, can probably be attributed to the superimposed wave front formed by the mixture of acoustic waves excited by main shock and propagating Rayleigh wave. The southward CTIDs are found to propagate at F2 region altitudes of ~300–440 km captured by Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate radio occultation observations. The CTIDs with periods of ~4–6 min are observed in all directions with significantly larger amplitudes and faster propagation velocities in south and east directions. The observed azimuthal asymmetry in the amplitudes and velocities of CTIDs are discussed in terms of the alignment with geomagnetic field and nature of surface crustal deformation during the earthquake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10,669-10,685
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • earthquake
  • ionosphere
  • lithosphere-ionosphere coupling


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