Forbush decreases are depressions in the galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) that are caused primarily by modulations of interplanetary coronal mass ejections (ICMEs) but also occasionally by stream/corotating interaction regions (SIRs/CIRs). Forbush decreases have been studied extensively using neutron monitors at Earth; recently, for the first time, they have been measured on the surface of another planet, Mars, by the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) on board the Mars Science Laboratory’s (MSL) rover Curiosity. The modulation of GCR particles by heliospheric transients in space is energy-dependent; afterwards, these particles interact with the Martian atmosphere, the interaction process depending on particle type and energy. In order to use ground-measured Forbush decreases to study the space weather environment near Mars, it is important to understand and quantify the energy-dependent modulation of the GCR particles by not only the pass-by heliospheric disturbances but also by the Martian atmosphere. Accordingly, this study presents a model that quantifies — both at the Martian surface and in the interplanetary space near Mars — the amplitudes of Forbush decreases at Mars during the pass-by of an ICME/SIR by combining the heliospheric modulation of GCRs with the atmospheric modification of such modulated GCR spectra. The modeled results are in good agreement with measurements of Forbush decreases caused by ICMEs/SIRs based on data collected by MSL on the surface of Mars and by the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft in orbit. Our model and these findings support the validity of both the Forbush decrease description and Martian atmospheric transport models.
With Venus Express magnetic field measurements at 32 Hz from 2006 to 2012, we investigate statistically the magnetic fluctuations in the near-Venusian space. The global spatial distribution of their spectral scaling features is presented in MHD and kinetic regimes. It can be observed that turbulence is a common phenomenon in the solar wind in both regimes. The solar wind MHD turbulence is modified at the Venusian bow shock; MHD turbulence is absent in the Venusian magnetosheath but present at the magnetosheath boundary layer. Pre-existing kinetic turbulence from the far upstream solar wind is modified in the near solar wind region, while kinetic turbulence can be extensively observed throughout the Venusian magnetosheath and in some regions of the induced magnetosphere. Our results reveal that, in the near-Venusian space, energy cascade can be developed at the boundary between magnetosheath and wake, and the turbulence-related dissipation of magnetic energy occurs extensively in the magnetosheath and the induced magnetosphere.
The Martian hydrogen exosphere extends out of the bow shock, forming a "hydrogen corona". The solar wind interacts directly with the hydrogen corona. During an ICME event on 7 March 2015, the SWIA instrument onboard Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission (MAVEN) observed that the pick-up H+ fluxes in upstream solar wind were enhanced. Also increased were the penetrating H+ fluxes in the Martian atmosphere. Quantitatively, these penetrating H+ fluxes cannot increase by a factor of 5 simply due to a factor of 3 increase in the solar wind density, suggesting that the increased abundance of exospheric hydrogen upstream of the bow shock was a consequence of the passage of the ICME. A denser outer hydrogen corona at high altitudes suggests that the expansion of the neutral atmosphere was caused by the ICME. The excited and heated hydrogen exosphere probably indicates an elevated hydrogen escape rate during an ICME.
A three-dimensional four species multi-fluid magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) model was constructed to simulate the solar wind global interaction with Mars. The model was augmented to consider production and loss of the significant ion species in the Martian ionosphere, i.e., H+, O2+, O+, CO2+, associated with chemical reactions among all species. An ideal dipole-like local crustal field model was used to simplify the empirically measured Martian crustal field. Results of this simulation suggest that the magnetic pile-up region (MPR) and the velocity profile in the meridian plane are asymmetric, which is due to the nature of the multi-fluid model to decouple individual ion velocity resulting in occurrence of plume flow in the northern Martian magnetotail. In the presence of dipole magnetic field model, boundary layers, such as bow shock (BS) and magnetic pile-up boundary (MPB), become protuberant. Moreover, the crustal field has an inhibiting effect on the flux of ions escaping from Mars, an effect that occurs primarily in the region between the terminator (SZA 90°) and the Sun–Mars line of the magnetotail (SZA 180°), partially around the terminator region. In contrast, near the tailward central line the crustal field has no significant impact on the escaping flux.
The Venusian dayside ionosphere, similar to other planetary ionospheres, is produced primarily by ionization of its neutral upper atmosphere due to solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation. It has become clear that the expansion of the ionosphere may be strongly controlled by the EUV level, as exhibited in data collected by the Pioneer Venus Orbiter (PVO) during one solar cycle (1978–1992). However, the EUV-dependence of the Venusian dayside ionopause altitude, which defines the outer boundary of the ionosphere, remains obscure because the PVO crossed the dayside ionopause only during the solar maximum; its periapsis lifted too high during the solar minimum. Recently, during the period 2006–2014, which included the longest and quietest solar minimum of the past several decades, Venus Express (VEX) provided measurements of the photoelectron boundary (PEB) over the northern high-latitude region. Since the photoelectron boundary is closely related to the ionopause, we have an opportunity to analyze the EUV effect on the dayside ionopause by combining PVO and VEX observations. We have evaluated and then reduced the orbit bias effect in data from both PVO and VEX, and then used the results to derive a relationship between solar EUV level and the dayside ionopause altitude. We find that the dayside ionopause altitude increases as the solar EUV level increases, which is consistent with theoretical expectations.
Foreshock ultralow frequency (ULF) waves constitute a significant physical phenomenon in the plasma environment of terrestrial planets. The occurrence of these waves, associated with backstreaming particles reflected and accelerated at the bow shock, implies specific conditions and properties of the shock and its foreshock. Using magnetic field and ion measurements from MAVEN, we report a clear event of ULF waves in the Martian foreshock. The interplanetary magnetic field connected to the Martian bow shock, forming a shock angle of ~51°. Indicating that this was a fast mode wave is the fact that ion density varied in phase with perturbations of the wave field. The peak frequency of the waves was about 0.040 Hz in the spacecraft frame, much lower than the local proton gyrofrequency (~0.088 Hz). The ULF waves had a propagation angle approximately 34° from ambient magnetic field and were accompanied by the whistler mode. The ULF waves displayed left-hand elliptical polarization with respect to the interplanetary magnetic field in the spacecraft frame. All these properties fit very well with foreshock waves excited by interactions between solar wind and backstreaming ions through right-hand beam instability.
In order to understand the crustal structure and tectonic background of the Changning–Gongxiang area, southeastern Sichuan Province, where a series of moderate-to-strong earthquakes occurred in recent years, we utilized the seismic phase data both from a local dense array and from the regional seismic networks; we used the tomoDD program to invert for the high-resolution three-dimensional velocity structure within the depth range of 0–10 km and for accurate hypocentral locations in this area. We analyzed the seismogenic structures for the events of Xingwen M5.7 in 2018 and Gongxian M5.3 and Changning M6.0 in 2019. The results show that: (1) widespread lateral inhomogeneity exists in the velocity structure of the study area, and the location of the velocity anomaly is largely consistent with known structures. In the range of distinguishable depth, the inhomogeneity decreases with increasing depth, and the velocity structure anomalies in some areas are continuous in depth; (2) earthquakes occurred in clusters, showing the characteristics of zonal folding trends in the NW-SE and NE-SW directions; the focal depth in the area is generally shallow in both the sedimentary cap and the crystalline basement. The seismogenic structures of small earthquake clusters are different in size and occurrence in different sections, and the clusters occurred mostly in regions with high P- or S-wave velocities; (3) synthesis of a variety of data suggests that the seismogenic structures of the Xingwen M5.7 and Changning M6.0 earthquakes are associated with slip faults that trend NW-SE in, respectively, the south wing and the axis of the Changning–Shuanghe anticline, while that of the Gongxian M5.3 earthquake is associated with thrust faults that trend N-S in the Jianwu syncline region. The dynamic sources of the three earthquakes are all from the SE pushing of the Qinghai–Tibet block on the Sichuan basin; (4) the risk of future strong earthquakes in this area must be reevaluated in light of the facts (a) that in recent years, moderate-to-strong earthquake swarms have occurred frequently in southeast Sichuan; (b) that the complex structural area exhibits the easy-to-trigger characteristic, and (c) that the small-scale faults in this area are characterized by the phenomenon of stress “lock and release”.
Measurements of Jupiter's gravity field by Juno have been acquired with unprecedented precision, but uncertainties in the planet’s hydrogen–helium equation of state (EOS) and the hydrogen–helium phase separation have meant that differences remain in the interior model predictions. We deduce an empirical EOS from Juno gravity field observations in terms of the hydrostatic equation and then investigate the structure and composition of Jupiter by comparison of the empirical EOS with Jupiter's adiabats obtained from the physical EOS. The deduced helium mass fraction suggests depletion of helium in the outermost atmosphere and helium concentration in the inner molecular hydrogen region, which is a signature of helium rain in Jupiter's interior. The deduced envelope metallicity (the heavy-element mass fraction) is as high in the innermost envelope as 11–13 times the solar value. Such a high metallicity provides sharp support to the dilute core model with the heavy elements dissolved in hydrogen and expanded outward. No matter how the core mass is varied, the empirical EOS derived from the two-layer interior model generally suggests higher densities in the innermost envelope than does the best-fit Jupiter's adiabat; this result is, again, a signature of dilute cores in Jupiter's interior. Moreover, no matter the core mass, the empirical EOS is found to exhibit an inflexion point in the deep interior, around 10 Mbar, which can be explained as the combined effect of helium concentration in the upper part and dilute cores in the lower part.
To infer the internal equilibrium structure of a gaseous planet, especially the equation of state (EOS) and size of its inner core, requires accurate determination of lower-order zonal gravitational coefficients. Modeling of the gravitational signature associated with deep zonal circulation depends critically upon reliable subtraction of the dynamical components from totally derived gravitational coefficients. In the era of the Juno mission and the Grand Finale phase of the Cassini mission, it is timely and necessary to revisit and examine the so-called ‘Thermal Wind Equation (TWE)’, which has been extensively utilized to diagnose the dynamical parts of the gravitational fields measured by the two spacecrafts. TWE treats as negligible a few terms in the full equation of balance. However, the self-gravitational anomaly of the distorted fluid, unlike oblateness effects of solid-body rotation, is not a priori minor and thus should not be neglected in the name of approximation. Another equation, the ‘Thermal Gravitational Wind Equation (TGWE)’, includes this important additional term; we compare it with the TWE and show that physically the TGWE models a fundamentally different balance from the TWE and delivers numerical results considerably different from models based on the TWE. We conclude that the TWE balance cannot be relied upon to produce realistic convection models. Only after the TGWE balance is obtained can the relative importance of terms be assessed. The calculations we report here are based on two types of zonal circulations that are produced by realistically possible convections inside planets, instead of being constructed or assumed.
In this paper we show that two significant phenomena of magnetospheric chorus emission can be explained by the participation of beam-like electron structures, created by Landau-resonant interaction with growing oblique whistler waves. The first concerns the widely observed spectral gap near half the electron cyclotron frequency Ωe; the second is related to the observation of very obliquely propagating lower-band waves that cannot be directly generated by temperature anisotropy. Concerning the gap, kinetic dispersion theory reveals that interference of the beam-related cyclotron mode ω~Ωe-kVb with the conventional whistler mode leads to mode splitting and the appearance of a ‘forbidden’ area in the ω-k space. Thereby the beam velocity Vb appears as an essential parameter. It is directly related to the phase velocity of the most unstable whistler wave mode, which is close to VAe/2 for sufficiently hot electrons (VAe is the electron Alfven velocity). To clarify the second point, we show that Landau-resonant beams with Vb < VAe/2, which arise in cold plasmas from unstable upper-band waves, are able to generate lower-band whistler mode waves at very oblique propagation (θ ≥ 60°). Our studies demonstrate the important role of Landau-resonant electrons in nonlinear whistler wave generation in the magnetosphere.
Proton cyclotron waves (PCWs) can be generated by ion pickup of Martian exospheric particles in the solar wind. The solar wind ion pickup process is highly dependent on the " IMF cone angle” — the angle between the solar wind velocity and the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF), which also plays an important role in the generation of PCWs. Using data from 2.15 Martian years of magnetic field measurements collected by the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission, we have identified 3307 upstream PCW events. Their event number distribution decreases exponentially with their duration. A statistical investigation of the effects of IMF cone angle on the amplitudes and occurrence rates of PCWs reveals a slight tendency of PCWs’ amplitudes to decrease with increasing IMF cone angle. The relationship between the amplitude and IMF cone angle is weak, with a correlation coefficient r = –0.3. We also investigated the influence of IMF cone angle on the occurrence rate of PCWs and found that their occurrence rate is particularly high for intermediate IMF cone angles (~18°–42°) even though highly oblique IMF orientation occurs most frequently in the upstream region of the Martian bow shock. We also conclude that these variabilities are not artefacts of temporal coverage biases in MAVEN sampling. Our results demonstrate that whereas IMF cone angle strongly influences the occurrence of PCWs, IMF cone angle may also weakly modulate their amplitudes in the upstream region of Mars.
Seismic hazard analysis is gaining increased attention in the present era because of the catastrophic effects of earthquakes. Scientists always have as a goal to develop new techniques that will help forecast earthquakes before their reoccurrence. In this research, we have performed a shear failure experiment on rock samples with prefabricated cracks to simulate the process of plate movement that forms strike-slip faults. We studied the evolution law of the deformation field to simulate the shear failure experiment, and these results gave us a comprehensive understanding of the elaborate strain distribution law and its formation process with which to identify actual fault zones. We performed uniaxial compression tests on marble slabs with prefabricated double shear cracks to study the distribution and evolution of the deformation field during shear failure. Analysis of the strain field at different loading stages showed that with an increase in the load, the shear strain field initially changed to a disordered-style distribution. Further, the strain field was partially concentrated and finally completely concentrated near the crack and then distributed in the shape of a strip along the crack. We also computed coefficients of variation (CVs) for the physical quantities u, v, and exy, which varied with the load. The CV curves were found to correspond to the different loading stages. We found that at the uniform deformation stage, the CV value was small and changed slowly, whereas at the later nonuniform deformation stage, the CV value increased sharply and changed abruptly. Therefore, the precursor to a rock sample breakdown can be predicted by observing the variation characteristics of CV statistics. The correlation we found between our experimental and theoretical results revealed that our crack evolution and sample deformation results showed good coupling with seismic distribution characteristics near the San Andreas Fault.
The photoelectron peak at 22–27 eV, a distinctive feature of the energetic electron distribution in the dayside Martian ionosphere, is a useful diagnostic of solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) and X-ray ionization as well as of large-scale transport along magnetic field lines. In this work, we analyze the pitch angle distribution (PAD) of energetic electrons at 22–27 eV measured during several representative Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) orbits, based on the electron spectra gathered by MAVEN’s Solar Wind Electron Analyzer (SWEA) instrument. On the dayside, most photoelectron spectra show an isotropic PAD as is expected from production via solar EUV/X-ray ionization. The photoelectron spectra occasionally observed on the nightside show instead a strongly anisotropic PAD, indicative of cross-terminator transport along ambient magnetic field lines. This would in turn predict the presence of dayside photoelectrons, also with a strongly anisotropic PAD, which was indeed revealed in SWEA data. Comparison with magnetic field measurements made by the MAVEN Magnetometer suggests that on average the photoelectrons with anisotropic PAD stream away from Mars on the dayside and towards Mars on the nightside, further supporting the scenario of day-to-night transport. On both sides, anisotropic photoelectrons tend to be observed above the photoelectron exobase at ～160 km where photoelectron transport dominates over local production and energy degradation.
The exobase is defined as the interface between the strongly collisional and the collisionless parts of an atmosphere. Although in reality the exobase is a transition region of finite depth, it is conventionally defined as the boundary above which an upwardly ejected neutral particle makes one collision at higher altitudes. Such an idealized definition is of practical use and serves as a good tracer of the overall size of an atmosphere as it expands and contracts under the influences of both external and internal sources. Knowledge of the atmospheric properties near the exobase is crucial to first-order estimates of atmospheric escape rates on terrestrial planets. Since its arrival at Mars on 21 September 2014, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has provided comprehensive maps of the Martian upper atmosphere under a variety of conditions. This allows, for the first time, a thorough investigation of the variations of the exobase altitude on this red planet. In this study, we use the N2 density measurements accumulated by MAVEN’s Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer from October 2014 to November 2018 to determine the exobase altitudes for a large number of MAVEN orbits. Our analysis reveals clearly the variations of exobase altitude with local time and solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) flux, as well as tentative evidence for the impact of global dust storms. These observations are indicative of thermal expansion of the Martian upper atmosphere, driven either externally by solar EUV energy deposition or internally by global dust storms.
We perform a statistical analysis of data from the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) project on the global distribution of protons in the Martian magnetosheath. Our results show that the proton number densities distribution has a south-north asymmetry. This south-north asymmetry is most likely caused by the south-north asymmetric distributions of the crustal magnetic fields at Mars. The strong crustal magnetic fields push the inner boundary of magnetosheath to a higher altitude in the southern hemisphere. Due to the outward movement of the inner boundary of the magnetosheath, a compressed magnetosheath forms, causing subsequent increases in proton number densities, thermal pressure, and total pressure. Eventually, a balance is reached between the increased total pressure inside the magnetosheath and the increased magnetic pressure inside the induced magnetosphere. Our statistical study suggests that the Martian crustal magnetic fields can strongly affect the distributions of proton number densities in the Martian magnetosheath.
The Chinese Chang'e-3 mission landed close to the eastern rim of the ~450 m diameter Ziwei crater. Regional stratigraphy of the landing site and impact excavation model suggest that the bulk continuous ejecta deposits of the Ziwei crater are composed by Erathothenian-aged mare basalts. Along the traverse of the Yutu rover, the western segment features a gentle topographic uplift (~0.5 m high over ~4 m), which is spatially connected with the structurally-uplifted crater rim. Assuming that this broad topographic uplift has physical properties discontinuous with materials below, we use data returned by the high-frequency lunar penetrating radar onboard the Yutu rover to estimate the possible range of relative permittivity for this topographic uplift. Only when the relative permittivity is ~9 is the observed radar reflection consistent with the observed topography, suggesting that the topographic uplift is composed of basaltic blocks that were excavated by the Ziwei crater. This result is consistent both with the impact excavation model that predicts deeper basaltic materials being deposited closer to the crater rim, and with observation of numerous half-buried boulders on the surface of this hill. We note that this study is the first to use topography and radargram data to estimate the relative permittivity of lunar surface uplifts, an approach that has had many successful applications on Mars. Similar approaches can apply other ground penetrating radar data for the Moon, such as will be available from the ongoing Chang'e-4 mission.
O++ is an interesting species in the ionospheres of both the Earth and Venus. Recent measurements made by the Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS) on board the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft provide the first firm detection of O++ in the Martian ionosphere. This study is devoted to an evaluation of the dominant O++ production and destruction channels in the dayside Martian ionosphere, by virtue of NGIMS data accumulated over a large number of MAVEN orbits. Our analysis reveals the dominant production channels to be double photoionization of O at low altitudes and photoionization of O+ at high altitudes, respectively, in response to the varying degree of O ionization. O++ destruction is shown to occur mainly via charge exchange with CO2 at low altitudes and with O at high altitudes. In the dayside median sense, an exact balance between O++ production and destruction is suggested by the data below 200 km. The apparent discrepancy from local photochemical equilibrium at higher altitudes is interpreted as a signature of strong O++ escape on Mars, characterized by an escape rate of 6×1022 s–1.
The ion-to-electron temperature ratio is a good indicator of the processes involved in the plasma sheet. Observations have suggested that patchy reconnection and the resulting earthward bursty bulk flows (BBFs) transport may be involved in causing the lower temperature ratios at smaller radial distances during southward IMF periods. In this paper, we estimate theoretically how a patchy magnetic reconnection electric field can accelerate ions and electrons differently. If both ions and electrons are non-adiabatically accelerated only once within each reconnection, the temperature ratio would be preserved. However, when reconnection occurs closer to the Earth where magnetic field lines are shorter, particles mirrored back from the ionosphere can cross the reconnection region more than once within one reconnection; and electrons, moving faster than ions, can have more crossings than do ions, leading to electrons being accelerated more than ions. Thus as particles are transported from tail to the near-Earth by BBFs through multiple reconnection, electrons should be accelerated by the reconnection electric field more times than are ions, which can explain the lower temperature ratios observed closer to the Earth.
Previous studies have shown that the ionospheric responses to a solar flare are significantly dependent on the solar zenith angle (SZA): the ionospheric responses are negatively related to the SZAs. The largest enhancement in electron density always occurs around the subsolar point. However, from 2001 to 2014, the global distribution of total electron content (TEC) responses showed no obvious relationship between the increases in TEC and the SZA during some solar flares. During these solar flares, the greatest enhancements in TEC did not appear around the subsolar point, but rather far away from the subsolar point. The distribution of TEC enhancements showed larger TEC enhancements along the same latitude. The distribution of anomalous ionospheric responses to the solar flares was not structured the same as traveling ionospheric disturbances. This anomaly distribution was also unrelated to the distribution of background neutral density. It could not be explained by changes in the photochemical process induced by the solar flares. Thus, the transport process could be one of the main reasons for the anomaly distribution of ionospheric responses to the solar flares. This anomaly distribution also suggests that not only the photochemical process but also the transport process could significantly affect the variation in ionospheric electron density during some solar flares.
Water vapor in the stratosphere makes a significant contribution to global climate change by altering the radiative energy budget of the Earth’s climate system. Although many previous studies have shown that the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has significant effects on the water vapor content of the stratosphere in terms of the annual or seasonal mean, a comprehensive analysis of the seasonal evolution of these effects is still required. Using reanalysis data and satellite observations, we carried out a composite analysis of the seasonal evolution of stratospheric water vapor during El Niño/La Niña peaks in winter and decays in spring. The ENSO has a distinct hysteresis effect on water vapor in the tropical lower stratosphere. The El Niño/La Niña events moisten/dry out the tropical lower stratosphere in both winter and spring, whereas this wetting/dehydration effect is more significant in spring. This pattern is due to a warmer temperature in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere during the El Niño spring phase, which causes more water vapor to enter the stratosphere, and vice versa for La Niña. This delayed warming/cooling in the lower stratosphere during the El Niño/La Niña decay in spring leads to the seasonal evolution of ENSO effects on water vapor in the lower stratosphere.
On May 12, 2008, an Mw7.9 earthquake occurred in Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province, China. Movement of Yingxiu–Beichuan Fault in the Longmenshan Fault Zone was considered to be the main cause of the earthquake. Earthquakes are closely related to fault activities. Therefore, studying the strain distribution and evolution process around active fault zones is important to the understanding of seismic activities. In this study, we conduct laboratory experiments with uniaxial compression applied to marble sheets with intentionally fabricated cracks. The speckle patterns of the rock samples under different loading conditions are recorded in real time by a digital camera. To calculate the deformation fields of the deliberately cracked marble sheets during different stages of the loading processes, the recorded images are processed by the digital image correlation method. The distribution and variation of the displacement and strain are further analyzed in order to understand the strain localization of and observed damage in the experimental fracture zones. Finally, we compare these laboratory results with the GPS-observed coseismic displacements during the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, to assess the consistency between our laboratory observations and the field observations of the earthquake, but also to suggest how laboratory results can improve thinking about how earthquake patterns do and do not reflect fault patterns.
Late at night on 17 June 2019, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck Shuanghe Town and its surrounding area in Changning County, Sichuan, China, becoming the largest earthquake recorded within the southern Sichuan Basin. A series of earthquakes with magnitudes up to 5.6 occurred during a short period after the mainshock, and we thus refer to these earthquakes as the Changning M6 earthquake sequence (or swarm). The mainshock was located very close to a salt mine, into which for ~3 decades fresh water had been extensively injected through several wells at a depth of 2.7–3 km. It was also near (within ~15 km) the epicenter of the 18 December 2018 M5.7 Xingwen earthquake, which is thought to have been induced by shale gas hydraulic fracturing (HF), prompting questions about the possible involvement of industrial activities in the M6 sequence. Following previous studies, this paper focuses on the relationship between injection and seismicity in the Shuanghe salt field and its adjacent Shangluo shale gas block. Except for a period of serious water loss after the start of cross-well injection in 2005–2006, the frequency of earthquakes shows a slightly increasing tendency. Overall, there is a good correlation between the event rate in the Shuanghe area and the loss of injected water. More than 400 M ≥ 3 earthquakes, including 40 M ≥ 4 and 5 M ≥ 5 events, had been observed by the end of August 2019. Meanwhile, in the Shangluo area, seismicity has increased during drilling and HF operations (mostly in vertical wells) since about 2009, and dramatically since the end of 2014, coincident with the start of systematic HF in the area. The event rate shows a progressively increasing background with some fluctuations, paralleling the increase in HF operations. More than 700 M ≥ 3 earthquakes, including 10 M ≥ 4 and 3 M ≥ 5 in spatially and temporally clustered seismic events, are correlated closely with active fracturing platforms. Well-resolved centroid moment tensor results for M ≥ 4 earthquakes were shown to occur at very shallow depths around shale formations with active HF, in agreement with some of the clusters, which occurred within the coverage area of temporary or new permanent monitoring stations and thus have been precisely located. After the Xingwen M5.7 earthquake, seismic activity in the salt well area increased significantly. The Xingwen earthquake may have created a unidirectional rupture to the NNW, with an end point close to the NW-trending fault of the Shuanghe earthquake. Thus, a fault in the Changning anticline might have terminated the fault rupture of the Xingwen earthquake, possibly giving the Xingwen earthquake a role in promoting the Changning M6 event.
Low-rise buildings are susceptible to high-frequency ground motion. The high-frequency ground motions at regional distances are mainly controlled by crustal Lg waves whose amplitudes are typically much larger than those of body waves. In this study, we develop a Lg-wave Q model for the Sichuan and Yunnan region in the frequency band of 0.3–2.0 Hz using regional seismic records of 1166 earthquakes recorded at 152 stations. Comparison between the observed pattern of ground motion from real earthquake and model prediction demonstrates the robustness and effectiveness of our Lg-Q model. Then, assuming that the Lg-wave Q structure is the main factor affecting the propagation of the high-frequency ground motions, we calculate the spatial distributions of high-frequency ground motions from scenario earthquakes at different locations in the region using the average Lg-wave attenuation model over the frequency band of 0.3–2.0 Hz. We also use the Lg-Q model to estimate the distribution of cumulative energy of high-frequency ground motions based on the historical seismicity of the Sichuan and Yunnan region. Results show that the Lg-Q model can be used effectively in estimating the spatial distribution of high-frequency seismic energies and thus can contribute to the assessment of seismic hazard to low-rise buildings.
The thermal structure of the lower mantle plays a key role in understanding the dynamic processes of the Earth's evolution and mantle convection. Because intrinsic attenuation in the lower mantle is highly sensitive to temperature, determining of the attenuation of the lower mantle could help us determine its thermal state. We attempted to constrain the attenuation of the lower mantle by measuring the amplitude ratios of p to ScP on the vertical component and s to ScS on the tangential component at short epicentral distances for seismic wave data from deep earthquakes in Northeast China. We calculated the theoretical amplitude ratios of p to ScP and s to ScS by using ray theory and the axial-symmetric spectral element method AxiSEM, as well as by considering the effects of radiation patterns, geometrical spreading, and ScP reflection coefficients. By comparing the observed amplitude ratios with the synthetic results, we constrained the quality factors as Qα ≈ 3,000 and Qβ ≈ 1,300 in the lower mantle beneath Northeast China, which are much larger than those in the preliminary reference Earth model (PREM) model of Qα ~800 and Qβ ~312. We propose that the lower mantle beneath Northeast China is relatively colder than the average mantle, resulting in weaker intrinsic attenuation and higher velocity. We estimated the temperature of the lower mantle beneath Northeast China as approximately 300–700 K colder than the global average value.
The Bayesian inversion method is a stochastic approach based on the Bayesian theory. With the development of sampling algorithms and computer technologies, the Bayesian inversion method has been widely used in geophysical inversion problems. In this study, we conduct inversion experiments using crosshole seismic travel-time data to examine the characteristics and performance of the stochastic Bayesian inversion based on the Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling scheme and the traditional deterministic inversion with Tikhonov regularization. Velocity structures with two different spatial variations are considered, one with a chessboard pattern and the other with an interface mimicking the Mohorovičić discontinuity (Moho). Inversions are carried out with different scenarios of model discretization and source–receiver configurations. Results show that the Bayesian method yields more robust single-model estimations than the deterministic method, with smaller model errors. In addition, the Bayesian method provides the posterior probabilistic distribution function of the model space, which can help us evaluate the quality of the inversion result.