Preseismic TEC changes for Tohoku-Oki Earthquake: Comparisons between simulations and observations

Cheng Ling Kuo, Lou Chuang Lee, Kosuke Heki

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10 Scopus citations


Heki (2011) reported that the Japanese Global Positioning System (GPS) dense network detected a precursory positive total electron content anomaly (TEC), with ΔTEC ∼3 TECU, ∼40 minutes before the Tohoku-Oki earthquake (Mw 9.0). Similar preseismic TEC anomalies were also observed in the 2010 Chile earthquake (Mw 8.8), 2004 Sumatra-Andaman (Mw 9.2) and the 1994 Hokkaido-Toho-Oki (Mw 8.3). In this paper we apply our improved lithosphere-atmosphere-ionosphere (LAI) coupling model to compute the TEC variations and compare the simulation results with the reported TEC observations. For the Tohoku-Oki earthquake simulations we assumed that the stressed associated current started ∼40 minutes before the earthquake, linearly increased and reached its maximum magnitude at the time of the earthquake main shock. It is suggested that a dynamo current density of ∼25 nA m-2 is required to produce the observed ΔTEC ∼3 TECU.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-72
Number of pages10
JournalTerrestrial, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2015


  • Earthquake precursor
  • Tohoku-Oki earthquake
  • Total electron content anomaly


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