Statistical and Criticality Analysis of the Lower Ionosphere Prior to the 30 October 2020 Samos (Greece) Earthquake (M6.9), Based on VLF Electromagnetic Propagation Data as Recorded by a New VLF/LF Receiver Installed in Athens (Greece).
Published on May 27, 2021in Entropy2.494
· DOI :10.3390/E23060676
In this work we present the statistical and criticality analysis of the very low frequency (VLF) sub-ionospheric propagation data recorded by a VLF/LF radio receiver which has recently been established at the University of West Attica in Athens (Greece). We investigate a very recent, strong (M6.9), and shallow earthquake (EQ) that occurred on 30 October 2020, very close to the northern coast of the island of Samos (Greece). We focus on the reception data from two VLF transmitters, located in Turkey and Israel, on the basis that the EQ’s epicenter was located within or very close to the 5th Fresnel zone, respectively, of the corresponding sub-ionospheric propagation path. Firstly, we employed in our study the conventional analyses known as the nighttime fluctuation method (NFM) and the terminator time method (TTM), aiming to reveal any statistical anomalies prior to the EQ’s occurrence. These analyses revealed statistical anomalies in the studied sub-ionospheric propagation paths within ~2 weeks and a few days before the EQ’s occurrence. Secondly, we performed criticality analysis using two well-established complex systems’ time series analysis methods—the natural time (NT) analysis method, and the method of critical fluctuations (MCF). The NT analysis method was applied to the VLF propagation quantities of the NFM, revealing criticality indications over a period of ~2 weeks prior to the Samos EQ, whereas MCF was applied to the raw receiver amplitude data, uncovering the time excerpts of the analyzed time series that present criticality which were closest before the Samos EQ. Interestingly, power-law indications were also found shortly after the EQ’s occurrence. However, it is shown that these do not correspond to criticality related to EQ preparation processes. Finally, it is noted that no other complex space-sourced or geophysical phenomenon that could disturb the lower ionosphere did occur during the studied time period or close after, corroborating the view that our results prior to the Samos EQ are likely related to this mainshock.