Ionospheric precursors for crustal earthquakes in Italy
Abstract. Crustal earthquakes with magnitude 6.0>M≥5.5 observed in Italy for the period 1979–2009 including the last one at L'Aquila on 6 April 2009 were considered to check if the earlier obtained relationships for ionospheric precursors for strong Japanese earthquakes are valid for the Italian moderate earthquakes. The ionospheric precursors are based on the observed variations of the sporadic E-layer parameters (h'Es, fbEs) and foF2 at the ionospheric station Rome. Empirical dependencies for the seismo-ionospheric disturbances relating the earthquake magnitude and the epicenter distance are obtained and they have been shown to be similar to those obtained earlier for Japanese earthquakes. The dependences indicate the process of spreading the disturbance from the epicenter towards periphery during the earthquake preparation process. Large lead times for the precursor occurrence (up to 34 days for M=5.8–5.9) tells about a prolong preparation period. A possibility of using the obtained relationships for the earthquakes prediction is discussed.