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Nature of Pre-Earthquake Phenomena and their Effects on Living Organisms
GeoCosmo Science Group, SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA
Department of Physics, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA 95192, USA
Earth Sciences Division, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA
Space Biosciences Division, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 April 2013; in revised form: 28 May 2013 / Accepted: 28 May 2013 / Published: 6 June 2013
Simple Summary: Earthquakes are invariably preceded by a period when stresses increase deep in the Earth. Animals appear to be able to sense impending seismic events. During build-up of stress, electronic charge carriers are activated deep below, called positive holes. Positive holes have unusual properties: they can travel fast and far into and through the surrounding rocks. As they flow, they generate ultralow frequency electromagnetic waves. When they arrive at the Earth surface, they can ionize the air. When they flow into water, they oxidize it to hydrogen peroxides. All these physical and chemical processes can have noticeable effects on animals.
Abstract: Earthquakes occur when tectonic stresses build up deep in the Earth before catastrophic rupture. During the build-up of stress, processes that occur in the crustal rocks lead to the activation of highly mobile electronic charge carriers. These charge carriers are able to flow out of the stressed rock volume into surrounding rocks. Such outflow constitutes an electric current, which generates electromagnetic (EM) signals. If the outflow occurs in bursts, it will lead to short EM pulses. If the outflow is continuous, the currents may fluctuate, generating EM emissions over a wide frequency range. Only ultralow and extremely low frequency (ULF/ELF) waves travel through rock and can reach the Earth surface. The outflowing charge carriers are (i) positively charged and (ii) highly oxidizing. When they arrive at the Earth surface from below, they build up microscopic electric fields, strong enough to field-ionize air molecules. As a result, the air above the epicentral region of an impending major earthquake often becomes laden with positive airborne ions. Medical research has long shown that positive airborne ions cause changes in stress hormone levels in animals and humans. In addition to the ULF/ELF emissions, positive airborne ions can cause unusual reactions among animals. When the charge carriers flow into water, they oxidize water to hydrogen peroxide. This, plus oxidation of organic compounds, can cause behavioral changes among aquatic animals.
Keywords: pre-earthquake phenomena; positive holes; ULF (ultralow frequency) waves; ELF (extremely low frequency) waves; air ionization; water oxidation; hydrogen peroxide; physiological effects
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Cite This Article
MDPI and ACS Style
Freund, F.; Stolc, V. Nature of Pre-Earthquake Phenomena and their Effects on Living Organisms. Animals 2013, 3, 513-531.
Freund F, Stolc V. Nature of Pre-Earthquake Phenomena and their Effects on Living Organisms. Animals. 2013; 3(2):513-531.
Freund, Friedemann; Stolc, Viktor. 2013. "Nature of Pre-Earthquake Phenomena and their Effects on Living Organisms." Animals 3, no. 2: 513-531.