Evolution-EM signals before earthquakes in terms of mesomechanics and complexity

K. Eftaxias, V. E. Panin, Ye Ye Deryugin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


MHz-to-kHz electromagnetic (EM) anomalies have been detected worldwide over time intervals ranging from a few days to a few hours prior to near-surface earthquakes (EQs) that have occurred on land with magnitude approximately six or larger. The MHz radiation systematically appears earlier than the kHz. Laboratory experiments on rock samples reveal a similar change in the frequency content during progressive deformation, i.e. the emissions exhibit a frequency shift from MHz to kHz just before failure of the samples. Herein, we attempt to associate these consecutively emerging MHz and kHz modes of the pre-fracture EM emission with successive distinct stages of the fracture preparation process and the associated fracture mechanisms. We base our approach on synergetic principles of physical mesomechanics. A universal principle of physical mesomechanics is that the plastic deformation of a solid is related to its loss of shear stability at the micro-, meso-, and macroscale levels. Global fracture is determined by the mechanism controlling the development of macroscale bands of localized deformation associated with meso- and microscale relaxation processes. The major result we obtain is that the shift from MHz to kHz EM activity may signal the transition of plastic flow localization from the mesoscale to the macroscale, culminating in global fracture. A complexity measure (Approximate Entropy) and a persistency-anti-persistency measure (Hurst exponent) also give evidence of a two stage-model of EQ preparation process: significant complexity decrease and accession of persistency can be confirmed in the strong kHz EM activity that emerges in the tail of the pre-seismic EM activity. Laboratory experiments on rock samples reveal similar symptoms of an imminent global instability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-300
Number of pages28
Issue number1-4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2007


  • Approximate Entropy
  • Electromagnetic radiation induced by fractures
  • Mesomechanics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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