• ground surface plasma wave;
  • pre-earthquake signal


[1] It is shown theoretically that if mobile electrical charge exists on the surface of the ground, a ground surface plasma wave is induced by radio waves. If the electrical charges are generated by tectonic stresses acting on crustal rocks prior to major earthquakes, the detection of a ground surface plasma wave could be used as a pre-earthquake electromagnetic phenomenon. The ground surface plasma wave has a dispersion relation, i.e., the relation between frequency and wavelength, similar to that of the free-space plane wave in the atmosphere over the radio broadcast frequency range. It allows for a strong coupling between these two types of waves. This is a mode of electromagnetic wave propagation that has not been previously reported. Numerical analysis demonstrates (1) the propagation of the ground surface plasma wave along a curved surface beyond the line of sight, (2) anomalous scattering by ground surface roughness, and (3) the generation of cross-polarized waves due to the scattering. These results all agree well with radio wave anomalies observed before large earthquakes.