Study on earthquakes by approaches of geoelectromagnetism and statistical seismology (Qinghua Huang)


The research interest of Prof. Qinghua Huang’s group includes geoelectromagnetism and statistical seismology, with particular focus on physics and monitoring of nature hazards such as earthquakes and landslides.

Prof. Huang’s group investigated the characteristics of seismic electromagnetic signals based on both geoelectromagnetic and seismological approaches. They proposed a physical model considering the compensation of the piezoelectric effect and the dislocation theory of a fault (Huang, 2002). After combining the rupture physics and electrokinetic effect, they developed a numerical technique of simulating electromagnetic signals associated with the rupture of a finite planar fault model (Ren et al., 2012). Using the above numerical technique, they simulated the electrokinetically induced co-seismic electromagnetic signals for different medium models focusing on the effects of different properties of medium (Huang et al., 2015). Our investigations based on analogue experiments (Huang and Ikeya, 1998) and numerical simulations (Huang and Lin, 2010) indicated that the dual effects of surface inhomogeneity and underground conductive channel could play an important role in inducing the selectivity phenomena of seismic electromagnetic signals.


Fig. 1  Electric signals of (a) a full space, (b) a half space, and (c) a two-layer model with a double couple point rupture source (Huang et al., 2015).


Regarding the seismicity changes associated with earthquakes, Prof. Huang’s group proposed the Q-parameter which can quantify the spatial distribution of seismic quiescence (Huang et al., 2002). They also provided an evaluation method for reliable precursors (Huang, 2006) and proposed an improved technique of searching for the optimal model parameters of the Region-Time-Length (RTL) algorithm, which is a statistical method taking into account the contributions from the magnitude, occurrence time and epicentral distance of earthquakes (Huang and Ding, 2012). Prof. Huang organized a special issue entitled Current Challenges in Statistical Seismology in PAGEOPH (Huang et al., 2016) and wrote a commentary on epicenter forecast in PNAS (Huang, 2015).

Prof. Huang has been awarded the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars and the Cheung Kong Distinguished Professors, Ministry of Education, China. He is currently serving as a bureau member of IUGG’s Inter-Association Working Group on Electromagnetic Studies of Earthquakes and Volcanoes (EMSEV). He is also serving as a vice chairman of Committee of Geophysical Education, Ministry of Education, a member of Geophysical Division, Academic Degree Commission of the State Council, China, an associate secretary-general of Chinese Geophysical Society, and a deputy editors-in-chief of Chinese Journal of Geophysics. As the organizing committee chair, he organized the 6th Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) Research Symposium on Multi-Hazards around the Pacific Rim (2010) and the 8th International Workshop on Statistical Seismology (StatSei8) (2013).



Huang QH, 2002. One possible generation mechanism of co-seismic electric signals. Proceedings of the Japan Academy, 78(7): 173-178.

Huang QH, 2006. Search for reliable precursors: A case study of the seismic quiescence of the 2000 western Tottori prefecture earthquake. Journal of Geophysical Research, 111(B4), B04301.

Huang QH, 2015. Forecasting the epicenter of a future major earthquake. Proceedings of the National Academy of USA, 112(4): 944-945.

Huang Q, Ikeya M, 1998. Seismic electromagnetic signals (SEMS) explained by a simulation experiment using electromagnetic waves. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors, 109(3-4): 107-114.

Huang QH, Lin YF, 2010. Selectivity of seismic electric signal (SES) of the 2000 Izu earthquake swarm: a 3D FEM numerical simulation model. Proceedings of the Japan Academy, 86(3): 257-264.

Huang Q, Ding X, 2012. Spatiotemporal variations of seismic quiescence prior to the 2011 M 9.0 Tohoku earthquake revealed by an improved Region–Time–Length algorithm. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 102(4): 1878-1883.

Huang Q, Öncel AO, Sobolev GA, 2002. Precursory seismicity changes associated with the Mw = 7.4 1999 August 17 Izmit (Turkey) earthquake. Geophysical Journal International, 151(1): 235-242.

Huang QH, Ren HX, Zhang D, Chen YJ, 2015. Medium effect on the characteristics of the coupled seismic and electromagnetic signals. Proceedings of the Japan Academy, 91(1): 17-24.

Huang QH, Zhuang J, Gerstenberger M, 2016. Current Challenges in Statistical Seismology. Pure and Applied Geophysics, 173(1).

Ren HX, Chen XF, Huang QH, 2012. Numerical simulation of co-seismic electromagnetic fields associated with seismic waves due to finite faulting in porous media. Geophysical Journal International, 188(3): 925-944.