Geophysical Journal | 2009 volume 31 2

Anomalous variations of natural neutron flux and earthquake short-term forecast issues

© V.F. Ostapenko, V.A. Krasnoperov

Continuous observations on natural neutron flux (NF) variations have been conducted in the seismic zone adjacent to the city of Almaty (Kazakhstan) since 1996 at about 40 meters of water equivalent underground. It has been found that sometimes within an hour interval a neutron counting rate was sharply higher as compared to standard background. This happens prior to earthquake, i.e. most often increase in NF rate takes place by 1 to 10 days earlier. 70% of such events are within the interval of 4 days. There is a linear dependence between the neutron counting rate and the energetic class of the consequent earthquake with the epicenter of up to 450 km from the place of NF registration. In our opinion, the registered anomalous NF variations are caused by variations of the muon component of cosmic radiation. We propose two hypothesis to explain this fact. The first one is based upon the changes in the condition of interplanetary space (solar wind) during solar flares. The energy of solar wind transferred to the earth puts into action a trigger mechanism of the process of earthquake initiation in those places where conditions have already been prepared for them. The other hypothesis assumes that some processes in the interior of the Earth result in an increase in muon radiation rate above the seismic focus.

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