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Long-distance traveling ionospheric disturbances caused by the great Sumatra-Andaman earthquake on 26 December 2004


By using data from the GPS network, we observed exceptional intensive quasi-periodical perturbations of the total electron content (TEC) caused by the great Sumatra-Andaman earthquake on 26 December 2004. The time period of the variations was about 15 min, their duration was about 1 hour. The amplitude of the TEC oscillations exceeded the amplitude of “background” fluctuations in this range of periods by one order of magnitude, at a minimum. They were registered 2–7 hours after the main shock at a distance from 1000 to 5000 km, both on the northwest and northeast outward from the epicenter. The most probable source of the observed oscillations appeared to be a seismic airwave generated by the sudden vertical displacement of the Earth’s surface near the epicenter.


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Correspondence to Edward L. Afraimovich.

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Astafyeva, E.I., Afraimovich, E.L. Long-distance traveling ionospheric disturbances caused by the great Sumatra-Andaman earthquake on 26 December 2004. Earth Planet Sp 58, 1025–1031 (2006).

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Key words

  • TEC
  • traveling ionospheric disturbances
  • Sumatra-Andaman earthquake
  • GPS
  • seismic airwaves