Proton flux jump and earthquake

Posted: May 12, 2015 by tchannon in Astrophysics

Tim writes: The radio brought news of another [two] severe Nepal earthquakes today with more damage and deaths.

I logged in to the Talkshop and glanced at the space weather graphic, a step rise in proton flux today, a distinct event..


Proton flux from NOAA

Checking with USGS

M7.3 – 18km SE of Kodari, Nepal
2015-05-12 07:05:19 (UTC)
M6.3 – 33km NNE of Ramechhap, Nepal
Timed 2015-05-12 07:36:53 (UTC)


Apart from a possible geomagnetic movement, not timed well, nothing else appears in the spaceweather see below.

Google scholar produces a list of works on possible linkage. The assertion generally seem to be a precursor, doesn’t seem so in this case

Google link

I take this as a co-incidence, particularly if the earlier severe earthquake had no such association. Perhaps someone is better able to dig this out from high resolution data archives.



Looks like a new cluster.

Composite of ACE plots captured a few hours after the earthquake

Composite of ACE plots captured a few hours after the earthquake

Quick plot of proton density, 25th April 2015, first Nepal 'quake

Quick plot of proton density, 25th April 2015, first Nepal ‘quake

I take this as null. There is no 1:1 correspondence of any space weather with earthquakes. There is extensive supposition of some kind of vague linkage. Mechanism? Unknown.

Post by Tim

  1. ren says:


  2. Curious George says:

    M6.3 is about 20x less powerful than M7.8.
    [mod: see below and article]

  3. tchannon says:

    Tim:- M7.3 The article was written fast, little time for checking, has been updated

  4. tallbloke says:

    Was there any similar jump before the original quake?

  5. tchannon says:

    I’d like to know too Rog. Think I’ve found the data archive.

  6. tchannon says:

    Article updated with location map, looks like a new cluster.

    The crustal faults around there are severe, been quiet in recent years. Stress relieves in one place, rises in another.

  7. tallbloke says:

  8. Curious George says:

    Both M6.3 and M7.3 are correct. M6.3 was a foreshock. Let’s hope M7.3 is not. Keep your fingers crossed for Sherpas.

  9. tchannon says:

    Roger: If this is correct, and given I can see longer data here, probably not. There is activity in the days around so whilst it could be viewed as a slightly distinctive pulse, far from evidence.

    If anyone else wants to look the rolling data archive is but mostly vanishes after a month.
    Firs quake was 2015 04 25 @06:11 UTC
    Data tab and to FTP site.

  10. There is a solar/earthquake connection any way you cut it.

  11. craigm350 says:

    Ben Davidson looks at some of the possible factors (first ~3mins)

    Prior to April 25, four events of M6 or larger had occurred within 250 km of this area over the past century. One, a M 6.9 earthquake in August 1988, 140 km to the south-southeast of the May 12 event, caused close to 1500 fatalities. The largest, an M 8.0 event known as the 1934 Nepal-Bihar earthquake, ruptured a large section of the fault to the south of this May 2015 event, and east of the April 2015 mainshock, in a similar location to the 1988 earthquake. It severely damaged Kathmandu, and is thought to have caused around 10,600 fatalities. Prior to the 20th century, a large earthquake in 1833 is thought to have ruptured a similar area as the April 25, 2015 event. To date, there have been close to 100 M3+ aftershocks of the Gorkha earthquake. In the first two hours after the May 12 event, six further aftershocks have occurred, to the southwest-to-southeast of that earthquake.

  12. craigm350 says:

    M6.8 – 33km SE of Ofunato, Japan
    38.902°N 142.032°E depth=38.9 km (24.1 mi)
    2015-05-12 21:12:58 (UTC)

  13. Bruce Binion says:

    The original Nepal quake was triggered during our crossing of a solar plasma sheet. Today’s quake was triggered by the CME generating an increase in activity, electron flux, wind density, south-pointing IMF, and others.

    If there is a place to email more data, I would be glad to. The more folks we can get to understand processes that can trigger earthquakes, the closer we can get to models tracking forces in real-time.

    Here is a link to an abstract discussing some of the relationships, Bruce Binion.

    Click to access AGU-CC13SM-22.pdf

  14. Russell says:

    As the proton flux per square meter increased by ~ 8 ten Mev protons per second. the kinetic energy of 10 Mev protons is about ten to the minus eighteen joules, and the area of Nepal is about 1.5 x ten to the thirteen M2, the increase in energy deposited over the earthquake zone was about fifteen microwatts per square meter. divided by the shielding factor afforded by the ten tonnes of atmosphere overlying each square meter of terrain.

    The salient question accordingly becomes why on earth would anyone take the bloke who raised the question seriously?

  15. ren says:

    We have a magnetic storm. It will sway.

  16. tchannon says:

    Russell, lets take you back to our days as residents of Wallagonna land.

    One day you hear a terrible noise outside. Perfectly reasonably you go outside to find out what is going on. You look around, see some smoke some way off and tiny flash of light right there.

    I don’t know whether anyone buried the man hit between the eyes by a bullet and yet a tiny flash of light is so weak.

    The unknown is just that. Humans look for patterns, see many where there are none and yet today we are only able to communicate because some patterns have turned out to have definite meaning, we make things.

  17. ren says:

    Thursday May 14 2015, 03:21:00 UTC 76 minutes ago Nepal 4.5 10.0 CSEM-EMSC Feed Detail
    Thursday May 14 2015, 03:21:00 UTC 76 minutes ago Nepal 4.5 10.0 CSEM-EMSC Feed Detail
    Thursday May 14 2015, 03:17:39 UTC 80 minutes ago Sicily, Italy 2.3 10.0 CSEM-EMSC Feed Detail
    Thursday May 14 2015, 03:07:00 UTC 90 minutes ago Nepal 4.0 10.0 CSEM-EMSC Feed Detail

  18. I can’t take channon back to his days in Dimensional Analysis land, because he evidently has never been near the place.

    15 microwatts/m2 summed over the whole area of Nepal adds up to less than 3,000 horsepower- does he imagine a 20 car freeway pileup could stir the San Andreas fault.

    O the innumeracy !

  19. ren says:

    Increasing strombolian activity at New SE crater
    Update Tue 12 May 19:55
    Strombolian activity began again today at the New SE crater. Accompanied by rising tremor, this activity is increasing at the moment.
    The current pattern is very similar to many past episodes which often culminated in violent explosive (lava fountaining) and effusive (lava flow) paroxysms and could very well build up to a new one, maybe similar to the previous one during 1-2 Feb this year.

  20. ren says:

    MOSCOW, May 13. /TASS/. An explosion is ruled out as a possible cause for the accident with Russia’s Progress M-27M space freighter than went out of control and was burned in the dense layers of the Earth’s atmosphere, a Russian space expert said on Wednesday.
    Depressurization of the oxidizer and propellant tanks of the Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket’s third stage caused the loss of the Progress cargo ship as was established by Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), Academician of the Russian Academy of Cosmonautics and Cosmonautics News Journal Editor-in-Chief Igor Marinin said.

  21. tchannon says:

    Russel you seem to be trying to stir where there is nothing to stir.

    A somewhat remote sensing system reported a transient event roughly timed to a local event. As we can now see this was a precursor to other solar activity. In both cases more is involved.

    What other, more direct linkage between solar and earth system might be involved? I don’t know, you don’t know. My best guess is nothing yet at the same time I know there is lot which gets ignored such as the unmonitored and considerable terrestrial electrical fields. This latter is a subject of active investigation by several teams but not something I follow.

    I’d be staggered if anything solar could wholly cause a quake but something which alters the timing of when is more rational. The works on fault stress are giving a pretty good idea on where quakes will happen, vaguely when but some stress points relieve without a quake.

    Crustal movement is continuous from orbital forces alone, we are moving right now, simple tidal forces at work.

    The Nepal quakes were at a known stick point, was expected sometime. I’ve looked at the recorded events. There was I think a precursor at a slight deeper level the day before the first quake, the big one, a pause and then many aftershocks at slightly shallower depth (10km). Then we come to the quake involving this blog post. Is at a different location, follows a similar pattern. Plotting the lot shows a pretty tight arc at the northern edge. Maybe this is about local topology affecting remote sensing or perhaps there is some kind of tight fault line.

    Latitude/longitude plot of Nepal >= M3 since 1992 (an arbitrary date), blue prior to major events, red are recent.

  22. CanDoTina says:

    Would this event cause radio blackouts or communications failure? There were 5 plane crashes on this day, Atlanta, Ga – Beach Haven, Seville Spain, Military Helicopter, Napal and Tantipara West Bengal and also the 2 train derailments that the throttle was electrically powered. Maybe all these events are all a co-incidence, I just wanted to get your thoughts? Thanks. ~tina

  23. tchannon says:

    There was no sign of a major electromagnetic space event.

  24. ren says:

    Sakurajima volcano remains very active – during the day appears to be even 10-12 eruptions – ENEX agency informs.