In order to study the coupling relationship between large earthquakes and the ionosphere, the techniques of ionosphere data acquisition were refined by the Crustal Movement Observation Network of China (CMONOC) to detect the pre-earthquake ionospheric abnormal and coseismic ionospheric disturbances (CID) of the Mw 6.6 Lushan earthquake on 20 April 2013. Based on the regional ionosphere maps (RIMs) derived from the Global Positioning System (GPS) observations of CMONOC, the ionospheric local effects near the epicenter of the Lushan earthquake one month prior to the shock were analyzed. The results show that the total electron content (TEC) anomalies appeared 12–14 (6–8 April), 19 (1 April), and 25–27 (24–26 March) days prior to the Lushan earthquake, which are defined as periods 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Multi-indices including the ring current index (Dst), geomagnetic planetary (Kp) index, wind plasma speed (Vsw) index, F10.7, and solar flares were utilized to represent the solar–terrestrial environment in different scales and eliminate the effects of solar and geomagnetic activities on the ionosphere. After the interference of solar–terrestrial activity and the diurnal variation in the lower thermosphere were excluded, the TEC variations with obvious equatorial ionospheric anomaly (EIA) in period-1 were considered to be related to the Lushan earthquake. We further retrieved precise slant TECs (STECs) near the epicenter to study the coseismic ionospheric disturbance (CID). The results show that there was clear STEC disturbance occurring within half an hour after the Lushan earthquake, and the CID propagation distance was less than the impact radius of the Lushan earthquake (689 km). The shell models with different altitudes were adopted to analyze the propagation speed of the CID. It is found that at the F2-layer with the altitude of 277 km, which had a CID horizontal propagation velocity of 0.84 ± 0.03 km/s, was in accordance with the acoustic wave propagation velocity. The calculated velocity acoustic wave from the epicenter to the ionospheric pierce points of this shell model was about 0.53 ± 0.03 km/s, which was also consistent with its actual velocity within the altitude of 0–277 km. Affected by the geomagnetic field, the CID mainly propagated along the southeast direction at the azimuth of 190°, which was almost parallel to the local magnetic line.
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