Investigation of Earthquake Signatures on the Ionosphere over Europe

The aim of this project is to conduct an investigation into the lithosphere-atmosphere-ionosphere interaction with respect to earthquake events by exploiting a multi-instrument approach facilitated by existing ionospheric monitoring networks in Europe. The main goal of the research work is to perform an extensive coordinated study of ionospheric phenomena associated with earthquakes and to identify their main types, features and peculiarities of manifestation for different earthquake magnitudes and epicenter locations and depths, in the continental European area. The main target of the project is to investigate the possible correlation of ionospheric perturbations with seismic activity.

Based on observational evidence a series of observational and modelling experiments will be carried out to determine the viability of a ground-based earthquake detection program based on a search for earthquake related ionospheric disturbances. The research will be carried out in close collaboration with the National Institute for Earth Physics (NIEP) in Romania and the Cyprus Geological Department which will provide their valuable expertise concerning earthquake information and interpretation. The rationale of this investigation on behalf of Cyprus scientists is based on the fact that Cyprus lies in a seismically active region attributed to the “Cyprus Arc” which constitutes the tectonic boundary between the African and Eurasian lithospheric plates in the region.

The project will involve the exploitation of the abundance of European dual-frequency GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) networks to monitor seismic signatures as variations of the total electron content (TEC) which constitutes a characteristic ionospheric parameter and also of the INFREP and AWESOME VLF (Very Low Frequency) European networks to monitor seismic signatures as variations on VLF signals from long-distance transmitters. These are already installed at critical measurement sites all over Europe. The monitoring instrumentation will be complemented by the continuous measurements conducted by a digital modern ionosondes providing further information on the ionospheric variability by additional ionospheric parameters. The results and the subsequent analysis of observations will aid towards improved understanding of the coupling mechanisms between lithosphere and upper atmosphere.

  1. Nastase-Ilie E., Oikonomou C., Toma-Danila D., Haralambous H., Muntean A., Moldovan I.A.,(2016): Investigation of ionospheric precursors of earthquakes in Romania using the Romanian GNSS/GPS network. Rom Journal Phys, 61(7-8).
  2. Oikonomou, H. Haralambous, B. Muslim (2016). Investigation of ionospheric TEC precursors related to the M7.8 Nepal and M8.3 Chile earthquakes in 2015 based on Spectral and Statistical Analysis. Natural Hazards 83: 97. doi:10.1007/s11069-016-2409-7.
  3. Oikonomou, H. Haralambous, B. Muslim (2016). Investigation of ionospheric precursors related to deep and intermediate earthquakes based on spectral and statistical analysis. Advances in Space Research (Elsevier), doi:10.1016/j.asr.2016.10.026.
  4. Oikonomou, H. Haralambous, I-A. Moldovan (2016). Investigation of pre-earthquake ionospheric anomalies using VLF/LF INFREP European and GNSS global networks. Rom Journal Phys, (accepted for publication October 2016).
  5. Haralambous H, Oikonomou Investigation of earthquake signatures on the Ionosphere over Europe14th Ionospheric Effects Symposium May 2015 Washington (IES2015)  Washington.
  6. Haralambous, C. Oikonomou, and S. Perdikou Investigation of earthquake signatures, Second International Conference on Remote Sensing and Geoinformation of Environment Paphos Cyprus RSCy 2014 7-10 April 2014.
  7. Iren-Adelina Moldovan, Angela Petruta Constantin, Konstantinos Katzis, Haris Haralambous, Dragos Toma-Danila, Pier Francesco Biagi The INFREP European VLF/LF monitoring network-present status and preliminary results of the Cyprus monitoring system, 15th International Balkan Workshop on Applied Physics and Materials Science Costanta Romania July 2015.
  8. Eduard Nastase, Haris Haralambous, Christina Oikonomou, Alexandra Muntean, Doru Mateciuc, Iren Adelina Moldovan Investigation of earthquake signatures on the ionosphere using TEC values over the European region , 15th International Balkan Workshop on Applied Physics and Materials Science Costanta Romania July 2015.
  9. Christina Oikonomou, Haris Haralambous, Iren Adelina Moldovan Investigation of pre-earthquake ionospheric anomalies related to global M>5.8 eartquakes, 15th International Balkan Workshop on Applied Physics and Materials Science Costanta Romania July 2015.
  10. I Moldovan, C Oikonomou, H Haralambous, E Nastase, V E Toader, P F Biagi, R Colella, ,D Toma-Danila Investigation of Ionospheric Anomalies related to moderate Romanian earthquakes occurred during last decade using VLF/LF INFREP and GNSS Global Networks, European Geosciences Union General Assembly (EGU2017) Vienna April 2017.

The project consists of 6 work packages:

  • WP1. Project Management
  • WP2. Dissemination of Results
  • WP3. Seismic data and events database creation
  • WP4. Analysis and investigation using VLF data from INFREP VLF/ LF network and AWESOME VLF network
  • WP5. Analysis and investigation using TEC data from IGS and other European based GNSS networks
  • WP6. Analysis and investigation using ionosonde data from European ionosondes

The main aim of this proposal is to materialise a close collaboration between the two research groups for the benefit of the groups and also of the scientific community in the two countries. The cooperation in the frames of the proposal between is considered very beneficial especially taking into account the fact that Cyprus and Romania are conducting research on different aspects of the lithosphere-atmosphere-ionosphere system.

The main scientific goal is to establish a multi-instrument analysis framework by exploiting continuous ionospheric monitoring capabilities in continental Europe using existing networks of ground based digital ionosondes, GNSS and VLF receivers in search of ionospheric signatures related to earthquakes.The research work primarily aims to establish whether there is tangible evidence to justify a lithosphere – atmosphere – ionosphere interaction using modern ionospheric probing instruments in the continental European area, and secondly, if this interaction can be readily identified, to provide a novel useful tool in the decision making related to prediction of earthquakes.


Frederick Research Center

Cyprus Geological Survey Department

National Institute for Earth Physics (NIEP)


  • Dr. Haris Haralambous / Frederick Research Center
  • Dr. Christina Oikonomou / Frederick Research Center
  • Dr Eleni Tsolaki / Frederick Research Center
  • Dr. Harris Papadopoulos / Frederick Research Center
  • Dr. Andreas Konstantinidis / Frederick Research Center
  • Dr. Iren-Adelina MOLDOVAN / National Institute for Earth Physics
  • Dr.Eng.Constantin IONESCU / National Institute for Earth Physics
  • Dr.Petruta Angela Constantin / National Institute for Earth Physics
  • Dragos TOMA – DANILA(Msc) / National Institute for Earth Physics
  • Dr. Sylvana Pilidou / Cyprus Geological Survey Department
  • Dr. Iordanis Dimitriadis / Cyprus Geological Survey Department