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Observations and modeling of the elastogravity signals preceding direct seismic waves

Vallée, Martin and Ampuero, Jean Paul and Juhel, Kévin and Bernard, Pascal and Montagner, Jean-Paul and Barsuglia, Matteo (2017) Observations and modeling of the elastogravity signals preceding direct seismic waves. Science, 358 (6367). pp. 1164-1168. ISSN 0036-8075. doi:10.1126/science.aao0746.

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After an earthquake, the earliest deformation signals are not expected to be carried by the fastest (P) elastic waves but by the speed-of-light changes of the gravitational field. However, these perturbations are weak and, so far, their detection has not been accurate enough to fully understand their origins and to use them for a highly valuable rapid estimate of the earthquake magnitude. We show that gravity perturbations are particularly well observed with broadband seismometers at distances between 1000 and 2000 kilometers from the source of the 2011, moment magnitude 9.1, Tohoku earthquake. We can accurately model them by a new formalism, taking into account both the gravity changes and the gravity-induced motion. These prompt elastogravity signals open the window for minute time-scale magnitude determination for great earthquakes.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Materials
Vallée, Martin0000-0001-8049-4634
Ampuero, Jean Paul0000-0002-4827-7987
Juhel, Kévin0000-0003-0881-6904
Bernard, Pascal0000-0002-9577-9218
Montagner, Jean-Paul0000-0001-9958-3012
Additional Information:© 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science. Received 11 June 2017; accepted 2 November 2017. We are grateful to the developers of AXITRA, and more specifically to O. Coutant for making his code publicly available, both in the moment tensor and in the single-force configurations. We thank engineers involved in the installation, maintenance, and data distribution of broadband seismic stations. High-quality signals come from the Global Seismograph Network (, New China Digital Seismograph Network (, National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience /F-net, GEOSCOPE (, and Northeast China Extended Seismic Array ( networks, all publicly available at the IRIS data management center (, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP) data center (, or the F-net data center ( Global Centroid-Moment-Tensor Project ( source parameters of the Tohoku earthquake were very valuable for this study. The careful reviews of three anonymous reviewers were very valuable to clarify observational and theoretical aspects of the initial manuscript. We acknowledge T. Heaton for stimulating discussions that pushed us to carefully study the role of the gravity-induced acceleration. J. Harms provided valuable comments on the relationships between gravity and elastic perturbations. Most numerical computations were performed on the S-CAPAD platform, IPGP, France. We acknowledge the financial support from the GEOSCOPE program (funded by CNRS Institute for Earth Sciences and Astronomy and IPGP), the UnivEarthS Labex program at Sorbonne Paris Cité (ANR-10-LABX-0023 and ANR-11-IDEX-0005-02), and the Agence Nationale de la Recherche through grant ANR-14-CE03-0014-01. Seismic Analysis Code ( and Generic Mapping Tools ( free software packages were used for data processing and figure preparation.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)UNSPECIFIED
Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP)UNSPECIFIED
Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (ANR)ANR-10-LABX-0023
Agence Nationale pour la Recherche (ANR)ANR-11-IDEX-0005-02
Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)ANR-14-CE03-0014-01
Issue or Number:6367
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171204-080030449
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Observations and modeling of the elastogravity signals preceding direct seismic waves BY MARTIN VALLÉE, JEAN PAUL AMPUERO, KÉVIN JUHEL, PASCAL BERNARD, JEAN-PAUL MONTAGNER, MATTEO BARSUGLIA SCIENCE01 DEC 2017 : 1164-1168
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:83652
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:07 Dec 2017 00:07
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 20:12

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