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ISSN  2096-3955

CN  10-1502/P

Citation: Wang, Y. L., Xie, T., An, Y. R., Yue, C., Wang, J. Y., Yu, C., Yao, L., and Lu, J. (2019). Characteristics of the coseismic geomagnetic disturbances recorded during the 2008 M w 7.9 Wenchuan Earthquake and two unexplained problems. Earth Planet. Phys., 3(5), 435–443.doi: 10.26464/epp2019043

2019, 3(5): 435-443. doi: 10.26464/epp2019043


Characteristics of the coseismic geomagnetic disturbances recorded during the 2008 Mw 7.9 Wenchuan Earthquake and two unexplained problems


China Earthquake Networks Center, Beijing 100045, China


Institute of Geophysics, China Earthquake Administration, Beijing 100081, China


Earthquake Observatory of Dalian, Liaoning Province, Dalian 116012, China

Corresponding author: YaLi Wang,

Received Date: 2019-04-15
Web Publishing Date: 2019-09-01

Twenty-seven FHDZ-M15 combined geomagnetic observation systems (each of which is equipped with a fluxgate magnetometer and a proton magnetometer) had been installed in the China geomagnetic network before the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, during which coseismic disturbances were recorded by 26 fluxgate magnetometer observatories. The geomagnetic disturbances have similar spatial and temporal patterns to seismic waves, except for various delays. Six proton magnetometer observatories recorded coseismic disturbances with very small amplitudes. In addition, fluxgate magnetometers registered large-amplitude disturbances that are likely to have included responses to seismic waves. However, two problems remain unresolved. First, why do these geomagnetic disturbances always arrive later than P waves? Second, why do the geomagnetic disturbances have spatial and temporal directivity similar to the main rupture direction of the earthquake? Solving these two problems may be crucial to find the mechanism responsible for generating these geomagnetic anomalies.

Key words: Wenchuan Earthquake; co-seismic disturbance; geomagnetic field; fluxgate magnetometer; proton magnetometer

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Characteristics of the coseismic geomagnetic disturbances recorded during the 2008 Mw 7.9 Wenchuan Earthquake and two unexplained problems

YaLi Wang, Tao Xie, YanRu An, Chong Yue, JiuYang Wang, Chen Yu, Li Yao, Jun Lu