Many experimental observations have been performed and theoretical models have been proposed in order to analyze and discriminate ionospheric disturbances caused by natural terrestrial events, such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and by anthropogenic activities
Seismicity is one of the consequence of the dynamic processes that take place inside the Earth’s lithosphere. The study of the physical conditions which give rise to an earthquake, as well as of the processes that precede a seismic rupture, constitutes the basis of earthquake prediction approaches.
An original way, recently proposed, in order to study seismic precursors is to carry out measurements of the ionospheric anomalies by instruments installed on board satellites. Currently, only the dedicated DEMETER French mission (2004-2006) has collected detailed data; other previous results were obtained by analyzing observations of some not dedicated space experiments.
The objective of the CSES mission is to study the ionospheric disturbances induced by seismic activity and earthquake preparation mechanisms. It is based on long-term systematic and detailed measurements performed by detectors specifically designed. In particular, the mission aims at analyzing the temporal correlation between seismic events and occurrence of electromagnetic perturbations in the upper ionosphere and precipitations of Van Allen particles. Furthermore, CSES will provide important information on ionosphere parameters and on the unknown behavior of the ionosphere-magnetosphere transition region, in order to develop physical models of lithosphere-atmosphere-ionosphere coupling mechanism.