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Advances in Space Research 52 (2013) 11351145

Detection and monitoring of earthquake precursors: TwinSat, a

RussiaUK satellite project
Vitaly Chmyrev a,b, Alan Smith c,, Dhiren Kataria c, Boris Nesterov a, Christopher Owen c,
Peter Sammonds d, Valery Sorokin e,a, Filippos Vallianatos d,f
JSC GEOSCAN Technologies, Moscow, Russian Federation
Schmidt Institute of Physics of the Earth, Russian Academy of Sciences, 10, B. Gruzinskaya Str., 123995 Moscow, Russian Federation
Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, Holmbury St. Mary, Dorking, Surrey RH5 6NT, UK
Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, University College London, Gower Street, London, UK
Pushkov Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation, Russian Academy of Sciences (IZMIRAN), 142190 Troitsk,
Moscow region, Russian Federation
Laboratory of Geophysics and Seismology, Technological Educational Institute of Crete, Chania, Crete, Greece

Received 20 December 2012; received in revised form 14 June 2013; accepted 17 June 2013
Available online 22 June 2013


There is now a body of evidence to indicate that coupling occurs between the lithosphereatmosphereionosphere prior to earthquake
events. Nevertheless the physics of these phenomena and the possibilities of their use as part of an earthquake early warning system
remain poorly understood. Proposed here is a programme to create a much greater understanding in this area through the deployment
of a dedicated space asset along with coordinated ground stations, modelling and the creation of a highly accessible database. The space
element would comprise 2 co-orbiting spacecraft (TwinSat) involving a microsatellite and a nanosatellite, each including a suite of science
instruments appropriate to this study. Over a mission duration of 3 years  400 earthquakes in the range 66.9 on the Richter scale
would be observed. Such a programme is a prerequisite for an eective earthquake early warning system.
2013 COSPAR. The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. Open access under CC BY license.
Keywords: Earthquake; Ionosphere; Satellite

1. Introduction step towards an Earthquake early warning system. The

feasibility and design of such a system based on atmo-
Presented here is a proposal for coordinated experimen- spheric and ionospheric signals can only come about after
tal studies of lithosphereatmosphereionosphere (LAI) a more detailed study is made, both of the underlying phys-
coupling eects associated with seismic activity, particu- ics and the practicalities.
larly as precursors to earthquakes. The proposed pro- The mitigation of earthquake damage and loss of life
gramme would include the ight of TwinSat 2 co- remains of great concern. It is argued that we can expect
orbiting satellites that will make a range of measurements fatalities from a single event of more than 1 million in
in the ionosphere, and coordinated ground-based observa- the next century. Economic impact can be enormous it
tions. The proposed programme can be seen as the next is estimated that the recent earthquake in Sendai caused
$265 billion in damage and while much of that would
have been unavoidable, many lives would have been saved
and much secondary damage avoided if an early warning
system had been in place.
Corresponding author. Tel.: +44 1483204100; fax: +44 1483278312.
A number of other missions have been proposed for study
E-mail address: (A. Smith)
of LAI coupling eects but are not currently approved. The

0273-1177 2013 COSPAR. The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. Open access under CC BY license.
1136 V. Chmyrev et al. / Advances in Space Research 52 (2013) 11351145

most sophisticated and successful of those own has been earthquake (Nomikos et al., 1997; Serebryakova et al.,
Demeter, the rst satellite dedicated to natural disaster and 1992; Chmyrev et al., 1997). Similar ULF/ELF electric
technologic eects on the ionosphere (Cussac et al., 2006). eld and plasma perturbations have been registered
It has a circular sun-synchronised orbit, initial altitude recently by DEMETER satellite in connection with Chili
710 km and operated in 2 modes, slow and burst (while earthquakes with magnitude M>6.0 (Zhang et al., 2011).
above a seismically active region). While it is still in orbit, Blecki et al. (2010, 2011) observed strong ELF emissions
operations were ceased in December 2010. in the ionosphere 16 days before several large magnitude
A brief overview of experimental evidence of LAI phe- earthquakes. It was shown that such emissions were very
nomena is presented below. A description of the proposed well correlated in time and space with the thermal anomaly
program involving a TwinSat space sector, coordinated registered by the NOAA 18 satellite before the strong Sich-
ground segments and an underlying modeling activity is uan earthquake of 2008.
then given. Pre-earthquake VHF (Very High Frequency) electro-
magnetic radiation is generated in the atmosphere at alti-
2. Experimental evidence of LAI phenomena tudes 110 km over the quake zone, (Vallianatos and
Nomicos, 1998; Ruzhin et al., 2000; Ruzhin and Nomicos,
Summarized below are several observations of LAI phe- 2007).
nomena associated with seismic activity that have been Seismic-related disturbances in the troposphere create
reported. the conditions for over-horizon propagation of signals
Enhancement of seismic activity and typhoons produce from ground-based VHF transmitters on the routes passing
DC electric eld disturbances in the ionosphere with mag- through the earthquake area, (Fukumoto et al., 2002;
nitudes up to 10 mV/m. These disturbances occur over an Fujiwara et al., 2004; Ohno et al., 2005).
area of the order of several hundred km in diameter above Seismic-related disturbances of the lower ionosphere pro-
the earthquake region. Also, the DC electric eld enhance- duce anomalous eect in Schumann resonance phenomena
ments may arise in the ionosphere from several hours to including unusual enhancement of the fourth harmonic
10 days before an earthquake, (Chmyrev et al., 1989; Soro- and shift in frequency 1 Hz from conventional value at this
kin et al., 2005a, Gousheva et al., 2008, 2009). harmonic (Hayakawa et al., 2005; Nickolaenko et al., 2006).
Case studies and statistical analysis of plasma density Detection of seismic-related phase and amplitude distur-
variations observed from DEMETER satellite show that bances of VLF/LF transmitter signals in the Earth-iono-
the plasma density increases in vicinity of epicenter of sphere waveguide a few days to a week before an
future earthquake days before the main shock (Pisa et al., earthquake is evidence of the lower ionosphere modication
2011; He et al., 2011). It was noted that the intensity of by an earthquake preparation processes, (Gokhberg et al.,
the anomalies was enhanced when the earthquake magni- 1989; Gufeld et al., 1992; Rozhnoi et al., 2004, 2009). The
tude increased and was reduced when the depth increased most signicant result in this eld has been obtained from
(He et al., 2011). Earlier the redistribution of plasma den- observations in three European VLF/LF stations Mos-
sity in the upper ionosphere before earthquakes has been cow, Bari and Graz for an earthquake in LAquila (Italy)
reported in several papers basing on the data of top-side on April 6, 2009 (Rozhnoi et al., 2009). Strong nighttime
ionosphere sounding (see Pulinets and Boyarchuk, 2004 anomalies for long propagation paths together with a shift
and references therein). in the evening terminator for short paths have been found
Increase of light ions (H+ and He+) concentration in the 56 days before the earthquake. Direction nding research
ionosphere over impending earthquake region was rst has showed excellent coincidence with real position of the
observed from the Intercosmos-24 satellite (Boskova earthquake epicentre. In addition to a case study of LAquila
et al., 1993, 1994) and later conrmed by the data from event, the most important nding from subionospheric
AE-C satellite (Pulinets et al., 2003). VLF/LF studies is the recent establishment on the statistical
The magnitude of ULF geomagnetic eld oscillations signicant correlation between VLF/LF propagation anom-
detected in the seismically disturbed ionosphere prior to alies and EQs with M  6 and shallow (d < 40 km) depth
earthquakes lie in the range from 0.2 to 3 nT, (Chmyrev (Hayakawa et al., 2010b).
et al., 1989; Bilichenko et al., 1990; Bhattacharya et al., First indication of seismic activity eects on outgoing
2007, 2009). infrared (IR) radiation was reported at the end of the eight-
The association of electromagnetic emissions with ies by Gorny et al. (1988). Later similar satellite observa-
impending earthquakes was rst reported by Gokhberg tions made by various research groups in dierent
et al. (1982). Later it was shown that the small-scale (4 countries conrmed appearance of thermal IR anomalies
10 km) irregularities of plasma density with relative ampli- connected with impending earthquakes a week to a month
tudes of 1030% and correlated electromagnetic ELF before a shock (Quang et al., 1991; CORDIS RTD-PRO-
(Extremely Low Frequency) emissions with amplitudes 3 JECTS/European Communities, 2000; Qiang and Du,
10 pT at frequencies 450 and 140 Hz respectively are 2001; Tramutoli et al., 2001; Tronin, 2002; Tronin et al.,
excited within geomagnetic ux tubes (34 in latitudes) 2002; Saraf and Choudhury, 2003; Singh and Ouzounov,
connected to the epicenter region several days prior to an 2003; Ouzounov and Freund, 2003; Xiong et al., 2010).
V. Chmyrev et al. / Advances in Space Research 52 (2013) 11351145 1137

Outgoing long wave (812 lm) radiation anomalies have compute the upward transfer of the excited electric eld
been found on the ocean and the ground surface, mainly and predicts a magnitude of this eld in the ionosphere
in the zones of large faults, and in the atmosphere (Ouzou- 0.07 mV/m if the near ground electric eld is 100 V/m
nov et al., 2007, 2008; Tronin, 2010). They showed change in the area with diameter 200 km. To obtain the iono-
of the earths surface temperature of 36 and an intensity spheric eld at least at the background level of 1 mV/m
of thermal radiation in the atmosphere up to 80 W per a near ground eld 1000 V/m is needed. It is therefore
square meter. evident that the DC electric eld of 10 mV/m experimen-
Alterations in the total water vapor column and changes tally observed in the ionosphere during several days before
in aerosol parameters and ozone concentration in connec- an earthquake cannot be explained by this model.
tion with large earthquakes have been reported, (Dey The nature of seismic related DC electric eld in the ion-
et al., 2004; Okada et al., 2004; Tronin, 2002, 2010). osphere has been investigated in numerous papers (Pulinets
The concentration of charged soil aerosols in the atmo- et al., 2003; Grimalsky et al., 2003; Denisenko et al., 2008;
sphere above a seismic region increases by 12 orders of Ampferer et al., 2010). Authors of these papers used a well-
magnitude the days to a week before an earthquake. A sim- known model of the electric eld penetration into the ion-
ilar eect was observed in intense outbursts of radon osphere, which assumed that the eld source is situated in
(Rn222) and other radioactive substances on the eve of the lithosphere and the eld is transferred through the
large earthquakes (Alekseev and Alekseeva, 1992; Virk atmospheric layer with altitude dependent electric conduc-
and Singh, 1994; Heincke et al., 1995; Pulinets et al., tivity. This layer is a part of the closed global atmosphere
1994; Yasuoka et al., 2006; Omori et al., 2007). ionosphere electric circuit. It is assumed that the homoge-
neous Ohms law for a part of circuit without electro
3. Model of phenomena motive force is fullled in this layer. The maximum magni-
tude of DC electric eld in the ionosphere E1 can be esti-
A major part of theoretical models of the lithosphere mated by formula E1 = r0E0/r1 where r0 and E0 are the
atmosphereionosphere interaction is that a DC electric conductivity and the electric eld near the Earth surface
eld is assumed as an underlying cause of numerous elec- and r1 is the ionosphere conductivity. A mean value of
tromagnetic and plasma disturbances excited in the iono- the electric eld in a seismic region does not exceed the
sphere and the atmosphere on the eve of earthquakes. background level 100 V/m on a time scale of several days.
Liperovsky et al. (2008) have analyzed the generation Taking into account that r0  10 14 S/m, r1  10 5 S/m
mechanism of localized electric eld spikes with magnitude and E0  100 V/m we nd E1  10 4 mV/m, i.e. four
up to 103 V/m and characteristic time scales from 1 to orders of magnitude lower than the background iono-
100 min in the near ground atmosphere before earth- spheric eld. Such a value was obtained in all above men-
quakes. These spikes are generated in a process of upward tioned papers utilizing this model. Thus their results are
convectional transport and gravitational sedimentation of not compatible with the well published experimental data
charged aerosols of dierent sizes in the earthquake area. which indicated the pre-earthquake DC electric elds 10
The aerosols become charged through their interaction mV/m in the ionosphere (Chmyrev et al., 1989; Gousheva
with ions which in turn are the product of the radioactive et al., 2008; Gousheva et al., 2009).
decay of radon that is injected into the atmosphere before This contradiction was removed in the electrodynamic
earthquake. Such spiky vertical electric elds have been model of the atmosphereionosphere coupling described
observed in the near ground atmosphere in seismically in Sorokin et al. (2001, 2005b, 2007), Sorokin and Chmyrev
active areas (Vershinin et al., 1999; Smirnov, 2005). An (2010). Their model is based on the assumption that the
interesting eect, which is important from the point of view source of ionospheric DC electric eld is Electro Motive
of search for earthquake precursors, was predicted by Lipe- Force (EMF) formed in the near ground atmosphere.
rovsky et al. (2008) and involves the generation of non- The maximum magnitude of DC electric eld in the iono-
equilibrium IR emissions due to excitation of CO2 and sphere can be estimated in this case as E1 = (r0E0/
CH4 molecules by electrons accelerated in the electric eld r1)(1 + je/r0E0) where je is a density of the EMF external
spikes. However, since the time scale of these spikes does electric current near the Earth surface. If we suppose, that
not exceed 100 minutes the model postulated (Liperovsky the external current is caused by the movement of aerosols
et al., 2008) does not explain pre-earthquake DC electric with concentration N and charge Ze under the action of
elds and related phenomena observed in the ionosphere. vertical atmospheric convection with the velocity v, then
Pulinets et al. (2000) have suggested a mechanism for the the current density can be estimated as je = ZeNv. Assum-
electric eld modication near the Earth surface and its ing Z = 300, N = 8109 m 3, v = 0.3 m/s, we obtain the
penetration into the ionosphere. The electric eld distur- electric eld in the ionosphere E1 = 10 7(1 + 105) V/
bances in this model are generated by the separation of m  10 mV/m, which corresponds to satellite observations
large and small charged drops of mist through convection over the seismic regions (Chmyrev et al., 1989; Gousheva
motion and gravitational sedimentation. Drops are et al., 2008; Gousheva et al., 2009). Basing on the analysis
charged by coupling with atmospheric ions, generated, as of total electron content data Zolotov et al. (2008) have
above, through radon decay. This model can be used to shown that the ionosphere disturbance observed during
1138 V. Chmyrev et al. / Advances in Space Research 52 (2013) 11351145

6 days before the Peru earthquake of September 26, 2005 The formation of large enough DC electric eld in the
has been caused by the enhancement of DC electric eld ionosphere exceeding a threshold value leads to instability
in the ionosphere up to 68 mV/m. This nding strongly of acoustic-gravity waves and generation of periodic or
supports the approach developed in Sorokin et al. (2001, localized ionospheric structures in a form of solitary dipole
2005b, 2007), Sorokin and Chmyrev (2010). A key factor vortices or vortex chains and associated plasma density and
of this approach is the formation of an external electric cur- electric conductivity disturbances in the ionosphere. The
rent. The charged aerosols and radioactive elements are excitation of horizontal spatial structure of conductivity
injected into the atmosphere due to intensied soil gas ele- in the lower ionosphere results in the formation of mag-
vation in the lithosphere during enhanced seismic activity. netic eld-aligned currents and plasma layers stretched
Molchanov et al. (2004) considered the enhanced injection along the geomagnetic eld. Excitation of these horizontal
of soil gases into the atmosphere as one of the most impor- small-scale irregularities of electric conductivity in the
tant factors for the seismic inuence on the ionosphere. lower ionosphere is a key factor for the generation mecha-
Among other mechanisms they analyzed the eects of soil nism of ULF magnetic eld oscillations, electron number
gas injection on the generation of acoustic-gravity waves, density uctuations and ELF electromagnetic emissions
which reach the ionosphere and forms there the plasma observed on satellites and Schumann-resonance-like anom-
irregularities that inuence the propagation of radio waves alous line emissions observed on the Earth surface before
and the depression of geomagnetic pulsations. earthquakes (Sorokin et al., 1998; Borisov et al., 2001;
According to the electrodynamic model of the atmo- Sorokin and Hayakawa, 2008; Hayakawa et al., 2010a;
sphereionosphere coupling the electro motive force works Chmyrev and Sorokin, 2010).
between the Earth surface and near ground atmospheric Heating of E layer of the ionosphere through the
layers. EMF is formed as a result of convective and turbu- enhancement of current in a global electric circuit leads
lent transport and gravitational sedimentation of charged to an altitude prole of electron density in F layer and
aerosols at the injection of which by soil gases causes the the perturbation of light ions density in the upper iono-
Earths surface to acquire a charge of the opposite sign. sphere (Sorokin and Chmyrev, 1999). Growth of electric
External current and charge are dened by a set of nonlin- current owing into the ionosphere from the atmosphere
ear equations describing the kinetics of electrons, ions and results in electron density redistribution in E region includ-
charged aerosols and their interaction in the atmosphere. ing the formation of anomalous sporadic E layers (Sorokin
The perturbation of current owing in the atmosphereion- et al., 2006). Additional electric current in D layer of the
osphere electric circuit leads to growth of DC electric eld ionosphere initiates the formation of electron density dis-
in the ionosphere up to 10 mV/m and in the near ground turbances by changing the charge carriers from electrons
atmosphere 100 V/m (Sorokin et al., 2001, 2005b, 2007; to negative ions and by electron heating (Laptukhov
Sorokin and Chmyrev, 2010). et al., 2009).
Basing on the electrodynamic model it was shown that A major part of earlier theoretical models was devoted
under particular conditions the seismic related DC electric to separate descriptions of the various precursor signals
eld in the atmosphere below 10 km can reach the break- observed by dierent experiments. Thus, for example
down value in 1 or 2 layers 12 km in thickness (Sorokin Molchanov et al. (1995), Molchanov (1999), Surkov and
et al., 2011). Since the breakdown eld depends on the Pilipenko (1999), Vallianatos and Tzanis (1999), Tzanis
atmosphere density and turbulent atmospheric vortices and Vallianatos (2001, 2002), Uritsky et al. (2004) consid-
are accompanied by the density uctuations, turbulence ered the formation by the lithosphere sources of ULF
in these layers leads to appearance of random electrical dis- radiation and its penetration into the ionosphere, Kim
charges. (Tertyshinikov, 1996) have reported on the growth and Hegai (1999) tried to explain the modication of
of ozone concentration in the atmosphere over an earth- height ionospheric prole by plasma drift in growing
quake area which is consistent with the excitation of seis- DC electric eld and Gokhberg et al. (1996) and Liperov-
mic related electrical discharges in the atmosphere. sky et al. (1997) analyzed the possible eects of internal
Besides this ozone generation eect we can expect the stim- gravity waves and infrasonic waves on the ionosphere.
ulation of following phenomena as a result of a pre-earth- All these models constructed a chain of processes devel-
quake DC electric eld reaching the breakdown value: oped from the supposed source to the observed parame-
ter. Dierent approach consists in joint analysis of the
 Heating of the atmosphere in the discharge region and whole set of observed phenomena and search for their
the generation of outgoing long wave (812 lm) common nature. Such an approach is aimed at the devel-
radiation; opment of unied model, which explains a range of satel-
 Broadband electromagnetic VHF emission; lite and ground experimental data by a single underlying
 Airglow in visible range; cause and outline the interconnection between the
 Refraction and scattering of VHF radio waves in the observed parameters. This approach is realized in electro-
troposphere providing the over-horizon reception of dynamic model of the lithosphereatmosphereionosphere
ground-based VHF transmitter signals. coupling (Sorokin et al., 2001, 2005b, 2007; Sorokin and
V. Chmyrev et al. / Advances in Space Research 52 (2013) 11351145 1139

Chmyrev, 2010), which is illustrated by a scheme in region the computation of anomalous sporadic layers will
Fig. 1. be performed.
TwinSat work program foresees continuation of theo- Task 3: The further development of the theory of inter-
retical modeling of the atmosphereionosphere interaction nal/acoustic-gravity wave instability in the ionosphere
at the preparatory phases of earthquakes. This program under inuence of DC electric eld will be made that takes
includes the following tasks: into account the relative movement of ionized and neutral
Task 1: The development of numerical methods for nd- plasma components and the inclination of the geomagnetic
ing 3D-distribution of DC electric eld in the closed atmo- eld.
sphereionosphere electric circuit, which is generated by Task 4: The development of the theory of nonlinear vor-
external electric current excited in the lower atmosphere tex structures and related disturbances in the ionosphere
in a process of vertical atmospheric convection and gravi- inuenced by the electric eld and some other factors
tational sedimentation of charged aerosols injected into caused by earthquake and volcanic activities. This will
the atmosphere before an earthquake. Eects of the ioniza- include the generation of nonlinear Internal Gravity Wave
tion of lower atmosphere by radioactive sources (radon, (IGW) structures and related electric current and plasma
etc.), the adhesion of electrons to molecules and the inter- density perturbations in the ionosphere. Analysis of
action of charged ions with charged aerosols will be taken Drift-Alfven Wave (DAW) instability in the ionosphere
into consideration. disturbed by nonlinear IGW will be carried out. 2 detect-
Task 2: The development of the theoretical model for able eects of this instability will be investigated. First is
the disturbances of the D-, E- and F- layers of the iono- the formation of DAW vortex structures and small-scale
sphere connected with the generation of external electric current laments and second is connected with nonlinear
current. For the D- layer we will consider the eect of the evolution of DAW turbulence into the relatively large-scale
replacement of the charge carriers type at the inow of zonal winds.
external current from the atmosphere into the ionosphere Task 5: The development of the theory for the formation
and the redistribution of charged particle density leading of breakdown electric elds and electrical discharges in the
to the formation of large-scale horizontal inhomogeneities troposphere and stratosphere over seismic and volcanic
and inuencing the ULF-VLF electromagnetic wave char- activity zones. As a result of this study we expect to obtain
acteristics in the Earth-ionosphere waveguide. For the E- the radiation characteristics of these discharges in dierent

Fig. 1. A schematic of the LithosphereAtmosphereIonosphere electrodynamic coupling.

1140 V. Chmyrev et al. / Advances in Space Research 52 (2013) 11351145

frequency ranges and their inuence on the electric and 66.9 in the Richter scale in 3 years for which data will
thermodynamic parameters of the atmosphere. Special be taken is 400.
attention will be paid to runaway breakdown in the pre- The space segment consists of 2 platforms in a mother/
earthquake/volcanic activity electric eld and associated daughter arrangement the microsatellite TwinSat-1M
phenomena in the atmosphere and the ionosphere of the and the nanosatellite TwinSat-1N, operating at a con-
Earth. trolled separation (see Figs. 2 and 3). An inter-satellite
Task 6: The theoretical modeling of the intensication radio link provides transmission of scientic information
of outgoing long wave (812 lm) radiation and its possible from TwinSat-1N to TwinSat-1M, where it is stored in high
interconnection with strong electromagnetic ELF emis- capacity onboard memory for the subsequent delivery of
sions in the ionosphere over the epicenter of an impending the whole data set from the 2 satellites to an appropriate
earthquake. ground telemetry station.
Task 7: Finally, we will systemize the generation mech- TwinSat will be a signicant advance over other mis-
anisms and interrelations of separate precursor signals in sions in that it involves 2 satellites with controlled separa-
the framework of unied self-consistent physical model, tion. 2 satellites enable synchronous measurements of the
which describes the chain of processes arising in the atmo- precursor signals in separated points along the orbit to
sphere and the ionosphere on the eve of volcanic eruptions determine their spatial structure and the dynamic charac-
and strong earthquakes. teristics such as their propagation velocity, temporal/spa-
tial variations, etc. This will allow signicantly improved
recognition and discrimination of earthquake precursor
4. Proposed TwinSat programme signals from a background of other sources. In addition,
the development and test of a scheme of joint operation
The objectives of the proposed programme are: and in-orbit information exchange between 2 very small
platforms will enable future cost eective satellite constella-
 To validate current experimental ndings and theoreti- tion for monitoring of large-scale natural disasters.
cal models addressing the short-term earthquake precur- After launch and orbital insertion, the TwinSat-1N
sors through specialized and coordinated 2-satellite and would be separated from TwinSat-1M with a relative veloc-
ground based observations; ity of 3 cm/s. Dierences in the ballistic coecients of the
 To develop a comprehensive theoretical model describ- 2 satellites will cause the TwinSat-1N to lose altitude more
ing the formation and interconnection of the precursor quickly (and therefore speed up) and so some orbital con-
signals and the causal mechanism(s) (if present) between trol will be needed to maintain a useful separation between
the driving seismic activity and the ionospheric the 2 spacecraft. It is foreseen that this control will be on
signatures; the TwinSat-1M spacecraft in the form of, for instance, a
 To search for new precursory signals and estimate thruster. It is proposed to maintain a separation of
potential for accuracy improvement of forecasting the <400 km (varying during the mission with the TwinSat-
time and position of impending earthquakes; 1N being either ahead or behind the TwinSat-1M). The
 To determine the feasibility of a follow-on satellite con- attitude of the TwinSat-1N is xed with respect to the
stellation for reliable earthquake prediction taking into direction of motion and so to accommodate the 2 relative
consideration the danger of false alarms and ambiguity; directions of the TwinSat-1M, 2 patch antennae will be
 To evaluate possible earthquake occurrence probability used on TwinSAT-1N. The possibility of keeping the
algorithms based on the above results.

The links between the seismo-tectonic processes and

atmosphere/ionosphere earthquake precursors remain
poorly understood. While the complex and dynamic nature
of the earthquake precursor phenomena requires spatial,
spectral, and temporal coverage that is beyond any single
payload, we believe a dedicated space mission of the form
described below, together with coordinated ground sta-
tions, could make considerable progress in this area.
A major part of the programme would involve the cor-
relation of space and ground-based observations so as to
optimize the ability to distinguish earthquake precursor
signals from signals of an anthropogenic, magnetospheric
or other non-seismic origin.
For the proposed polar orbit, the passage over a partic-
ular region will occur approximately 5 times in a 2 day per-
iod. The expected number of earthquakes with magnitude Fig. 2. Twin satellite orbital conguration.
V. Chmyrev et al. / Advances in Space Research 52 (2013) 11351145 1141

The TwinSat-1N will be congured as a 2U CubeSat

(Heidt et al., 2000) with additional deployed solar panels.
Since a conventional CubeSat deployment device is not
proposed for this mission, deployment of these panels will
occur prior to satellite release (either while attached to
TwinSat-1M or prior to launch). In addition a pre-
deployed boom will be provided for the ULF/ELF mag-
netic sensors.
The baseline communication strategy between satellites
in normal operations would be communications from
TwinSat-1N via an S-band link to TwinSat-1M. In addi-
tion, a VHF/UHF link would allow independent commu-
nications between TwinSat-1N and the ground which
Fig. 3. TwinSat-1N. would be particularly important while the attitude of Twin-
Sat-1N is being stabilized after separation.
Conceptually, for baseline operations, from the systems
TwinSat-1N permanently ahead of the TwinSat-1M is view, TwinSat-1N will be congured as a subsystem of
being studied. TwinSat-1M rather than an independent entity. In this
The launch conguration of TwinSat-1M has the form way inight re-conguration of the TwinSat-1N would be
of a compact hexahedral prism. The lower plate is used natural, straight forward and synchronized with other
for fastening the micro satellite to the separation system operations. The close integration of the 2 satellites and rel-
and for installation of the separation contacts and the atively high bandwidth available to the TwinSat-1N com-
Orbital Control Complex (OCC) strip antennas. The upper pared with other CubeSat missions aords considerable
plate accommodates the digital solar sensors, GLONASS/ research potential.
GPS devices and the antennas and booms, both deployed
after orbit insertion. A truss construction is mounted on 5. Science payloads
the upper plate for fastening the sensor booms, deployment
mechanisms and ttings. Screen-vacuum thermal insula- The TwinSat-1M spacecraft will measure the following
tion provides for the thermal control of TwinSat-1M. parameters:
TwinSat-1M construction provides the possibility of
piggy-back delivery to orbit by any launch vehicle.  DC electric eld vector
The TwinSat-1M will comprise the following sub-sys-  Spectral and wave characteristics of 6 electromagnetic
tems (see also Table 1): eld components in ULF/ELF range (0.5500 Hz)
 Spectrum and sample waveforms of electric eld oscilla-
 Onboard Control Complex (OCC) including the radio tions in VLF/LF (0.5300 kHz) range
channel unit with antennas, central controller, user nav-  Amplitude and phase variations of ground based VLF/
igation device with antenna, power module, telemetry LF transmitter signals
commutation, optional GLOBALSTAR modem inter-  Spectrum and sample waveforms of electromagnetic
face modules and harness; waves in VHF range (2248 MHz)
 Attitude Control System (ACS) including; the actuator  Variations of thermal and supra thermal (0.320 eV)
unit with the ACS controller, driver-ywheels (6 units) plasma parameters
module, and the electromagnetic devices, startracker, 2  Energy distributions of electron and ion uxes with
digital sun sensors and 6 sensors for the preparatory ori- energies 3300 eV for 2 directions
entation on the Sun, uxgate magnetometer and  Lightning activity in the sub-satellite regions (optical
harness; measurements) needed to discriminate against light-
 Power supply system (PSS) including the Gallium Arse- ing-related events, ionospheric plasma disturbances
nide solar cell array, Ni-MH battery, controller and and some atmospheric emissions.
harness;  IR emission in the range 10.512.5 lm
 Temperature Control System (TCS) including electrical
heater, heat insulation, radiation surfaces, temperature The TwinSat-1N spacecraft will measure the following
sensors and harness; parameters:
 Spacecraft structure including frame and booms;
 TwinSat-1N separation system.  Variations of thermal and supra thermal (0.320 eV)
plasma parameters*
The TwinSat-1M payload instruments and TwinSat-1N  Energy distributions of electron and ion uxes with
are additional sub-systems. (see Table 2) energies 0.3300 eV for 2 directions*
1142 V. Chmyrev et al. / Advances in Space Research 52 (2013) 11351145

Table 1 6. Data from other satellites

TwinSat-1M characteristics.
Characteristic Value To augment the TwinSat science return it will be advan-
Satellite dimensions 46  53 cm
tageous to have data from other space assets including:
(without booms)
Mass (including payload) 50 kg  Spatial strain maps of potential earthquake areas from
Power InSAR data, e.g. see Fig. 4.
Average 90 W  Outgoing IR (812.5 lm) radiation intensity and ther-
Maximum 140 W
TwinSat-1N separation
mal images of seismically active zones, e.g. see Fig. 5.
velocity 3 cm/s  Space Weather monitoring to be able to take account of
Linear <6/s (TBD) magnetospheric eects.
Attitude control 3-axis, 8 arc min stability In all cases existing and planned space assets can pro-
Orbit Sun-synchronous, 700800 km altitude,
100 min period
vide this data.
Telemetry to ground
Fast channel (8.2 GHz) 60 Mbit/s 7. Ground stations
Onboard memory 5 Gbyte
Inter-satellite link frequency 2.4 GHz (TBD) The ground segment consists of the network of geophys-
Active lifetime >3 years
ical stations situated in several zones of high earthquake
and volcanic activity. The 2 satellites will be in a fast oper-
ation mode during the passages over these zones, where
Table 2 supporting ground-based measurements of relevant elec-
TwinSat-1N characteristics. tromagnetic eld and the atmosphere parameters should
Characteristic Value be performed. Comparison of the ground-based and 2-
Dimension 10  10  22.7 cm satellite observation results with seismic data will allow
Mass 2.5 kg us to dene the existence (or absence) of correlation
Power between the measured parameters and their cause-sequence
Average 2.2 W links with seismic activity. Measurements to be made by
Peak 4.0 W
Attitude control 3 axis stabilized, 1 accuracy
ground stations include:
Intersatellite link frequency 2.4 GHz
Telemetry to TwinSat-1M  Atmospheric gas composition;
Fast channel 64 Kbit/s  Radon emission and variations of radioactivity;
Telemetry to ground  Dynamics of aerosol injection;
Slow channel (145/435 MHz) 4.8 Kbit/s
Active lifetime >3 years
 Atmospheric DC electric eld and current variations;
 Spectral and wave characteristics of ULF/ELF/VLF/
VHF electromagnetic emissions including the arrival
direction nding and locating the radiation sources;
 Remote sensing of ionospheric disturbances through the
registration of amplitude and phase variations of VLF/
LF signals from ground-based transmitters at appropri-
ate propagation routes;
 Debit, temperature and chemical composition of under-
ground water sources and holes;
 Air temperature and humidity, wind velocity and atmo-
spheric pressure;
 Seismic and magnetic eld oscillations.

The most attractive is the deployment of a multi-disci-

pline ground network in the Kamchatka/Kuril region,
Fig. 4. InSAR image for the LAquila EQ, courtesy of Richard Walters. which is characterized by the strongest earthquake and vol-
cano activities in the world. 29 active Kamchatka volca-
noes annually produce 34 eruptions of explosive type.
 Wave form of ULF/ELF magnetic eld oscillations Taking into account the high occurrence rate of eruptions
(0.5500 Hz), 1 or 2 components in the selected area, we can expect the formation of a
unique set of data on the precursory signals obtained from
*TwinSat-1M and TwinSat-1N instruments will be the coordinated ground and twin-satellite observations. Use
same design. could also be made of the existing networks in Greece, Italy
V. Chmyrev et al. / Advances in Space Research 52 (2013) 11351145 1143

Fig. 5. Thermal anomaly associated with Kamchatka earthquake, June 21, 1996 as seen by satellite NOAA-14. Left indicates background situation. Right,
immediately after earthquake. Tronin 2010.

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