Does a Major Earthquake Precede a Thermal Anomaly

  • Arun K Saraf Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee 247667, India
  • Swapnamita Choudhury Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, 33 G. M. S. Road, Dehradun 248001, India
  • Santhosh K. Panda University of Alaska Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute, AK, 99775-7320, USA
  • Sudipta Dasgupta Reliance Industries Ltd., A Wing, DAKC, Navi Mumbai 400709, India
  • Vineeta Rawat Department of Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee 247667, India


While analyzing past earthquakes and their characteristics, perhaps a better understanding about earthquakes can be made. The present paper brings a new way of analyzing this phenomenon while exploiting a well-established concept of inter-conversion of energy. Pressure built-up due to tectonic activities and also associated subsurface degassing might create changes in temperature regime and if by any technique this change in thermal regime is detected, it can perhaps provide very important clues about future earthquake activities. Satellite based radiometers, which can sense the thermal emission originating from the earths surface, can be used to study thermal anomalies developing near the surface of the earth. The concept that prior to an earthquake the Land Surface Temperature (LST) increases has been validated by the study of several past earthquakes of different parts of the world including three earthquakes in Iran, namely, Bam Earthquake (26 December 2003), Zarand Earthquake (22 February 2005) and Darb-e-Astaneh Earthquake (31 March 2006). It has been observed that for all the above earthquakes studied, there were decipherable transient temporal anomalies in the LST of the region before the earthquakes. These anomalies went away along with the earthquake events. The short-term transient anomalies appeared a few days preceding the earthquakes. The increase in temperature around the epicentral area varied from 5-12C than the usual.