Seismic electric signals (SES) and earthquakes: A review of an updated VAN method and competing hypotheses for SES generation and earthquake triggering

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: This is version 1 of this Preprint.


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Daniel S. Helman


Electromagnetic phenomena are sometimes associated with seismic events, but earthquake prediction using seismic electric signals (SES) has not been seriously considered since the early 1990s. There are several causes: (1) false alarms that have created panics in Greece, and (2) a strong critique of the Varotsos-Alexopoulos-Nomicos (VAN) method used there. An updated VAN method that includes time series analysis has made successful medium-range predictions, and short-range predictions when coupled with seismic time series analysis. Four types of potential mechanisms to create precursory SES relying on deformation effects, temperature effects, ore-mineral movement or groundwater variation are reviewed. Data relevant to each are insufficient to favor a single mechanism. Records of the number of false positive and missed events for an updated VAN method have not been well maintained. False positives appear to be abundant and render the method unusable. Co-seismic groundwater fluctuations are addressed, and two novel hypotheses of earthquake trigger mechanism are also presented: ionospherically induced electric (and resultant magnetic) fields to weaken rock thereby causing failure; and volatiles liberated from minerals additionally promoting rock failure. Recommendations for further study are included.



Civil and Environmental Engineering, Earth Sciences, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Geology, Geophysics and Seismology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Planetary Geophysics and Seismology, Planetary Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences


Earthquake prediction, Earthquake trigger, Seismic electric signal, VAN method, Volatile


Published: 2020-04-07 11:31


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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