ISSN  2096-3955

CN  10-1502/P

2019 Vol.3(4)

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Variability of the Martian ionosphere from the MAVEN Radio Occultation Science Experiment
MeiJuan Yao, Jun Cui, XiaoShu Wu, YingYing Huang, WenRui Wang
2019, 3(4): 283-289. doi: 10.26464/epp2019029
The Martian ionosphere is produced by a number of controlling processes, including solar extreme ultraviolet radiation (EUV) and X-ray ionization, impact ionization by precipitating electrons, and day-to-night transport. This study investigates the structural variability of the Martian ionosphere with the aid of the radio occultation (RO) experiments made on board the recent Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft. On the dayside, the RO electron density profiles are described by the superposition of two Chapman models, representing the contributions from both the primary layer and the low-altitude secondary layer. The inferred subsolar peak electron densities and altitudes are 1.24×105 cm–3 and 127 km for the former, and 4.28×104 cm–3 and 97 km for the latter, respectively, in general agreement with previous results appropriate for the low solar activity conditions. Our results strengthen the role of solar EUV and X-ray ionization as the driving source of plasma on the dayside of Mars. Beyond the terminator, a systematic decline in ionospheric total electron content is revealed by the MAVEN RO measurements made from the terminator crossing up to a solar zenith angle of 120°. Such a trend is indicative of day-to-night plasma transport as an important source for the nightside Martian ionosphere.
Detection of seismic events on Mars: a lunar perspective
WeiJia Sun, Liang Zhao, Yong Wei, Li-Yun Fu
2019, 3(4): 290-297. doi: 10.26464/epp2019030
The interior structures of planets are attracting more and more detailed attention; these studies could be of great value in improving our understanding of the early evolution of Earth. Seismological investigations of planet interiors rely primarily on seismic waves excited by seismic events. Since tectonic activities are much weaker on other planets, e.g. Mars, the magnitudes of their seismic events are much smaller than those on Earth. It is therefore a challenge to detect seismic events on planets using such conventional techniques as short-time average/long-time average (STA/LTA) triggers. In pursuit of an effective and robust scheme to detect small-magnitude events on Mars in the near future, we have taken Apollo lunar seismic observations as an example of weak-activity data and developed an event-detection scheme. The scheme reported here is actually a two-step processing approach: the first step involves a despike filter to remove large-amplitude impulses arising from large temperature variations; the second step employs a matched filter to unmask the seismic signals from a weak event hidden in the ambient and scattering noise. The proposed scheme has been used successfully to detect a moonquake that was not in the known moonquake catalogue, demonstrating that the two-step strategy is a feasible method for detecting seismic events on planets. Our scheme will provide a powerful tool for seismic data analysis of the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission, and China’s future lunar missions.
Formation mechanism of the Lidang circular structure in the Guangxi Province
Pan Yan, ZhiYong Xiao, YiZhen Ma, YiChen Wang, Jiang Pu
2019, 3(4): 298-304. doi: 10.26464/epp2019031
The Lidang circular structure in the center of the Guangxi Province is about 8 km in diameter. This structure appears as an abnormal shallow depression that has disturbed the rather harmonic regional joint systems. Its unique occurrence in the whole region, the circular morphology, negative topography, and the spatial distribution of interior and exterior strata are all consistent with those of impact craters that are formed by asteroidal or cometary collision. To test the impact hypothesis, we carried out both field investigation and remote sensing study of this structure. Regional geological history suggests that if the impact hypothesis were correct, the impact event should have occurred at or after the Early Permian. Field investigation found that the strata inside and outside the crater are dominated by parallel stacks of Lower and Upper Permian limestone that have various thicknesses and different mud contents. The layers of limestone within and outside the circular structure have identical attitudes; no structural disturbances were visible in the outcrops. Field investigations provide conclusive evidence against the impact cratering hypothesis. A high-resolution digital elevation model shows that the spatial distribution of rounded mountains within the structure is controlled by faint but continual extension of joints, suggesting that the crater interior has gone through a much higher degree of erosion. Therefore, regional joints that had once existed within the crater are preserved less well than exterior terrains, forming the abruptly disrupted circular depression. Differential erosion, as the possible formation mechanism of the Lidang structure, is consistent with the different mud contents found between the interior and exterior limestone. The circular outline of this structure may correspond to the shape of the original deposition basin. In conclusion, the Lidang circular structure is a polje formed by karstification, not an astrobleme.
Poleward-moving recurrent auroral arcs associated with impulse-excited standing hydromagnetic waves
HuaYu Zhao, Xu-Zhi Zhou, Ying Liu, Qiu-Gang Zong, Robert Rankin, YongFu Wang, QuanQi Shi, Xiao-Chen Shen, Jie Ren, Han Liu, XingRan Chen
2019, 3(4): 305-313. doi: 10.26464/epp2019032
In Earth's high-latitude ionosphere, the poleward motion of east–west elongated auroral arcs has been attributed to standing hydromagnetic waves, especially when the auroral arcs appear quasi-periodically with a recurrence time of a few minutes. The validation of this scenario requires spacecraft observations of ultra-low-frequency hydromagnetic waves in the magnetosphere and simultaneous observations of poleward-moving auroral arcs near the spacecraft footprints. Here we present the first observational evidence from the multi-spacecraft THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms) mission and the conjugated all-sky imager to support the scenario that standing hydromagnetic waves can generate the quasi-periodic appearance of poleward-moving auroral arcs. In this specific event, the observed waves were toroidal branches of the standing hydromagnetic waves, which were excited by a pulse in the solar wind dynamic pressure. Multi-spacecraft measurements from THEMIS also suggest higher wave frequencies at lower L shells (consistent with the distribution of magnetic field line eigenfrequencies), which indicates that the phase difference across latitudes would increase with time. As time proceeds, the enlarged phase difference corresponds to a lower propagation speed of the auroral arcs, which agrees very well with the ground-based optical data.
Crustal S-wave velocity structure across the northeastern South China Sea continental margin: implications for lithology and mantle exhumation
WenAi Hou, Chun-Feng Li, XiaoLi Wan, MingHui Zhao, XueLin Qiu
2019, 3(4): 314-329. doi: 10.26464/epp2019033
The northeastern margin of the South China Sea (SCS), developed from continental rifting and breakup, is usually thought of as a non-volcanic margin. However, post-spreading volcanism is massive and lower crustal high-velocity anomalies are widespread, which complicate the nature of the margin here. To better understand crustal seismic velocities, lithology, and geophysical properties, we present an S-wave velocity (VS) model and a VP/VS model for the northeastern margin by using an existing P-wave velocity (VP) model as the starting model for 2-D kinematic S-wave forward ray tracing. The Mesozoic sedimentary sequence has lower VP/VS ratios than the Cenozoic sequence; in between is a main interface of P-S conversion. Two isolated high-velocity zones (HVZ) are found in the lower crust of the continental slope, showing S-wave velocities of 4.0–4.2 km/s and VP/VS ratios of 1.73–1.78. These values indicate a mafic composition, most likely of amphibolite facies. Also, a VP/VS versus VP plot indicates a magnesium-rich gabbro facies from post-spreading mantle melting at temperatures higher than normal. A third high-velocity zone (VP : 7.0–7.8 km/s; VP/VS: 1.85–1.96), 70-km wide and 4-km thick in the continent-ocean transition zone, is most likely to be a consequence of serpentinization of upwelled upper mantle. Seismic velocity structures and also gravity anomalies indicate that mantle upwelling/ serpentinization could be the most severe in the northeasternmost continent-ocean boundary of the SCS. Empirical relationships between seismic velocity and degree of serpentinization suggest that serpentinite content decreases with depth, from 43% in the lower crust to 37% into the mantle.
Anomalous phenomena in DC–ULF geomagnetic daily variation registered three days before the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan MS 8.0 earthquake
Mei Li, Li Yao, YaLi Wang, Michel Parrot, Masashi Hayakawa, Jun Lu, HanDong Tan, Tao Xie
2019, 3(4): 330-341. doi: 10.26464/epp2019034
The hourly data of the vertical Z and the horizontal H components of 37 ground–based DC–ULF geomagnetic stations are examined during 20 April–12 May 2008. On 9 May 2008, three days before the Wenchuan MS 8.0 shock, anomalies — a double low-point and a decreased amplitude — are registered on the curves of the Z component at 25 stations in a large-scale area surrounding the Wenchuan epicentral area. The H component shows none of the double low-point phenomenon but does exhibit a reduced magnitude at the same time. The geomagnetic index Kp is also examined and indicates that the anomalies appear at a solar quiet period. The appearing time shift (Tzs) between the first low-point on May 9 and the minimum point occurring time of May 1–5, 2008 is also checked. The results show that Tzs is on the order of 1–2 hours earlier or later than usual and there is a 2–6 hours’ gap between these two low-points. However, there is still a transition area which includes the epicenter where Tzs = 0. Variation amplitude examined on vertical Z increases as the distance from the epicenter decreases. An Earth–air–ionosphere model has been employed to investigate a possible mechanism of this phenomenon and positive results have been unexpectedly attained. All these above-related results tend to prove that the variations of the Z and H on May 9, 2008 during the solar quiet period are probably associated with the forthcoming Wenchuan MS 8.0 earthquake.
An efficient source wavefield reconstruction scheme using single boundary layer values for the spectral element method
YouShan Liu, Tao Xu, YangHua Wang, JiWen Teng, José Badal, HaiQiang Lan
2019, 3(4): 342-357. doi: 10.26464/epp2019035
In the adjoint-state method, the forward-propagated source wavefield and the backward-propagated receiver wavefield must be available simultaneously either for seismic imaging in migration or for gradient calculation in inversion. A feasible way to avoid the excessive storage demand is to reconstruct the source wavefield backward in time by storing the entire history of the wavefield in perfectly matched layers. In this paper, we make full use of the elementwise global property of the Laplace operator of the spectral element method (SEM) and propose an efficient source wavefield reconstruction method at the cost of storing the wavefield history only at single boundary layer nodes. Numerical experiments indicate that the accuracy of the proposed method is identical to that of the conventional method and is independent of the order of the Lagrange polynomials, the element type, and the temporal discretization method. In contrast, the memory-saving ratios of the conventional method versus our method is at least N when using either quadrilateral or hexahedron elements, respectively, where N is the order of the Lagrange polynomials used in the SEM. A higher memory-saving ratio is achieved with triangular elements versus quadrilaterals. The new method is applied to reverse time migration by considering the Marmousi model as a benchmark. Numerical results demonstrate that the method is able to provide the same result as the conventional method but with about 1/25 times lower storage demand. With the proposed wavefield reconstruction method, the storage demand is dramatically reduced; therefore, in-core memory storage is feasible even for large-scale three-dimensional adjoint inversion problems.
Small-scale dipolarization fronts in the Earth′s magnetotail
Jing Huang, Meng Zhou, HuiMin Li, XiaoHua Deng, Jiang Liu, ShiYong Huang
2019, 3(4): 358-364. doi: 10.26464/epp2019036
Previous studies suggest that dipolarization fronts (DFs) are 1 to 3RE (RE is the earth radius) wide in the dawn-dusk direction. Recent kinetic simulations have found that DFs may break up into small-scale structures after they are produced by reconnection. Motivated by this simulation, we revisited the scale size of DFs in the dawn-dusk direction by using Cluster observations during the years when the inter-distance among Cluster spacecraft was between 1000 and 2000 km. We selected the DFs that were detected by more than one spacecraft and estimated the radii of these DFs by a simple geometrical analysis, which is based on comparison of DF normals observed by different spacecraft. We found a few DFs that were only a few ion inertial lengths in the dawn-dusk direction. These results point out the importance of multi-scale coupling during the evolution of DFs.
Ring current proton scattering by low-frequency magnetosonic waves
Jiang Yu, Jing Wang, Jun Cui
2019, 3(4): 365-372. doi: 10.26464/epp2019037
Magnetosonic (MS) waves are believed to have the ability to affect the dynamics of ring current protons both inside and outside the plasmasphere. However, previous studies have focused primarily on the effect of high-frequency MS waves (f > 20 Hz) on ring current protons. In this study, we investigate interactions between ring current protons and low-frequency MS waves (< 20 Hz) inside the plasmasphere. We find that low-frequency MS waves can effectively accelerate < 20 keV ring current protons on time scales from several hours to a day, and their scattering efficiency is comparable to that due to high-frequency MS waves (>20 Hz), from which we infer that omitting the effect of low-frequency MS waves will considerably underestimate proton depletion at middle pitch angles and proton enhancement at large pitch angles. Therefore, ring current proton modeling should take into account the effects of both low- and high-frequency MS waves.