Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 176, Issue 8, pp 3533–3544 | Cite as

Investigation of Spatio-temporal Satellite Thermal IR Anomalies Associated with the Awaran Earthquake (Sep 24, 2013; M 7.7), Pakistan

  • Nabeel Ahmad
  • Adnan BarkatEmail author
  • Aamir Ali
  • Mahmood Sultan
  • Khurram Rasul
  • Zafar Iqbal
  • Talat Iqbal


The reliable forecast of imminent future earthquakes is still questionable due to uncertainties regarding the complex phenomena of earthquake occurrence and the hierarchical nature of the lithosphere. However, numerous retrospective studies suggest the implications of earthquake-accompanying processes within the context of earthquake forecasting. In this connection, an attempt is made here to verify the enhancement in thermal IR emissions associated with the extraordinary major (M 7.7) and shallow (depth ≈ 15 km) Awaran earthquake (Sep 24, 2013). The satellite thermal imagery record is analyzed to identify the possible effect of pre- and post-seismic changes around the epicentral region (latitude 25–29°N; longitude 63–67°E) for a suitable selected time window (July 27, 2013 to Nov 16, 2013). The pre-earthquake satellite imagery records reveal a very clear and distinct thermal anomaly developed within the earthquake preparation zone almost 6–10 days earlier, while the analysis of post-earthquake imagery record shows a decreasing trend of thermal anomaly as a function of time. The daily land surface temperature (LST) shows an anomalous rise of 7–9 °C on Sep 18, 2013, almost 6 days prior to the event occurrence, which is further authenticated by the statistical criterion \((\bar{x} \pm 2\sigma )\) with a confidence interval of 95%. Furthermore, the comparative and percentile analysis of daily and 5-year-averaged LST also exhibits abnormal increase associated with this particular event. In addition to all above, the present study is also consistent with the earlier findings and suggests a multi-precursory strategy for earthquake forecasting research.


Earthquake precursor MODIS thermal anomaly statistical analysis southern Pakistan 



The authors are thankful to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD), Islamabad, for providing the meteorological parameter data. We additionally acknowledge, with thanks to our colleagues, especially Zeeshan A. Siddiqui, for useful suggestion and feedback. There is no direct source of funding during the course of this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
corrected publication 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Earthquake StudiesNational Centre for PhysicsIslamabadPakistan
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesQuaid-i-Azam UniversityIslamabadPakistan
  3. 3.Riphah International UniversityIslamabadPakistan

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