New Approach of Low-Frequency Electromagnetic Wave Generation in the Near-Earth Environment

Document Type : Research Article


Assistant Professor, Department of Space Physics, Institute of Geophysics, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


This work presents the study on the electromagnetic wave penetration into the ionosphere in the frequency range of 10 Hz to 3 kHz and 3 kHz to 30 kHz, corresponding to the Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) and Very Low Frequency (VLF) for telecommunication applications and earthquake prediction. The ELF-VLF waves can also be generated through natural phenomena such as lightning as well as pre-seismic activities. The ELF generation before major earthquakes has been reported in several studies. Therefore, having a complete model capable of simulating the ELF waves generation and propagation in the disturbed ionospheric conditions, associated with pre-earthquake activities can be used to save human lives by predicting the exact location of a major earthquake. This study aims at developing a computational model in order to investigate the ELF –VLF wave generation and propagation in the lower ionosphere that can be used as a precursor for seismic events.
Another application of this frequency band is in the radio navigation. The VLF navigation system known as OMEGA was very popular and used for many applications such as navigation of ships, airplanes and also in the land. The system was in use until the late 1990s when it was replaced by Global Positioning Systems (GPS) due to high accuracy and low cost. Very recently, there has been an effort to renew the VLF navigation systems at a low cost. This will require a new approach for VLF wave generation in the ionosphere at a lower cost in comparison with regular transmitters. The efficiency of VLF wave generation in the lower ionosphere using a ground-based dipole antenna in the equatorial region is examined in this study.
In this study, we have shown that transmitted signal from the ground into the ionosphere can generate a current in the lower ionosphere, which may expand up to a few kilometers depending on the ionospheric conductivities and the frequency or modulation of the transmitted signal from the ground. This study investigates the generation of secondary currents and the artificial antenna in the ionosphere in order to develop a new technique for generating these signals for navigation applications. The approache for improving the efficiency of this technique including pre-modulation of the ionosphere using high-power high frequency (HF) signal for modifying the conductivities in the ionosphere is discussed.
The main idea here is to investigate the efficiency of Whistler wave generation in the E region in different ionospheric conditions. Specifically, the effect of pulse and continuous probing of the lower ionosphere with ELF-VLF signals and the generation of secondary waves and currents due to high conductivities are investigated. We have also proposed the application of this model to study the generation and propagation of ELF-VLF signal associated with the earthquake in the disturbed ionospheric conditions. This includes the variation of background ionospheric plasma and its effect on the penetration of the signal in the ionosphere and length scale of the excitied currents. This study may be critical to determine the exact location of a major earthquake using the pre-seismic activities such as generation and propagation of ELF waves. The variation of background ionospheric parameters such as electron density and ionospheric disturbances due to pre-earthquake conditions on the excitation and penetration of ELF-VLF waves into the E-region will be investigated in future studies.


Main Subjects

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