The Central Italy Electromagnetic Network and the 2009 L'Aquila Earthquake: Observed Electric Activity
Received: 19 September 2011 / Revised: 31 October 2011 / Accepted: 5 December 2011 / Published: 8 December 2011
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A network of low frequency electromagnetic detectors has been operating in Central Italy for more than three years, consisting of identical instruments that continuously record the electrical components of the electromagnetic field, ranging from a few Hz to tens of kHz. These
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A network of low frequency electromagnetic detectors has been operating in Central Italy for more than three years, consisting of identical instruments that continuously record the electrical components of the electromagnetic field, ranging from a few Hz to tens of kHz. These signals are analyzed in real time and their power spectrum contents and time/frequency data are available online. To date, specific interest has been devoted to searching for any possible electromagnetic features which correlate with seismic activity in the same region. In this study, spectral analysis has evidenced very distinct power spectrum signatures that increased in intensity when strong seismic activity occurred near the stations of the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake. These signatures have revealed horizontally oriented electric fields, between 20 Hz to 400 Hz, lasting from several minutes to up to two hours. Their power intensities have been found to be about 1 μV/m. Moreover, a large number of man-made signals and meteorologic electric perturbations were recorded. Anthropogenic signatures have come from power line disturbances at 50 Hz and higher harmonics up to several kHz, while radio transmissions have influenced the higher kHz spectrum. Reception from low frequency transmitters is also provided in relation to seismic activity. Meteorologic signatures cover the lower frequency band through phenomena such as spherics, Schumann resonances and rain electrical perturbations. All of these phenomena are useful teaching tools for introducing students to this invisible electromagnetic world.