Detection of Electromagnetic Seismic Precursors from Swarm Data by Enhanced Martingale Analytics

Shane Harrigan, Yaxin Bi, Mingjun Huang, Christopher O’Neill, Wei Zhai, Jianbao Sun, Xuemin Zhang

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The detection of seismic activity precursors as part of an alarm system will provide opportunities for minimization of the social and economic impact caused by earthquakes. It has long been envisaged, and a growing body of empirical evidence suggests that the Earth’s electromagnetic field could contain precursors to seismic events. The ability to capture and monitor electromagnetic field activity has increased in the past years as more sensors and methodologies emerge. Missions such as Swarm have enabled researchers to access near-continuous observations of electromagnetic activity at second intervals, allowing for more detailed studies on weather and earthquakes. In this paper, we present an approach designed to detect anomalies in electromagnetic field data from Swarm satellites. This works towards developing a continuous and effective monitoring system of seismic activities based on SWARM measurements. We develop an enhanced form of a probabilistic model based on the Martingale theories that allow for testing the null hypothesis to indicate abnormal changes in electromagnetic field activity. We evaluate this enhanced approach in two experiments. Firstly, we perform a quantitative comparison on well-understood and popular benchmark datasets alongside the conventional approach. We find that the enhanced version produces more accurate anomaly detection overall. Secondly, we use three case studies of seismic activity (namely, earthquakes in Mexico, Greece, and Croatia) to assess our approach and the results show that our method can detect anomalous phenomena in the electromagnetic data.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3654
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
Issue number11
Early online date5 Jun 2024
Publication statusPublished online - 5 Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 by the authors.

Data Access Statement

The findings presented in this study are underpinned by data accessible
through the “VirES” platform, available at (accessed on 1 March 2024), with reference number [7]. These datasets, integral to our research, originate from the publicly accessible “Swarm-core” resource, accessible at (accessed on 1 March 2024). The availability of these datasets in the public domain exemplifies the spirit of
open science and facilitates transparency and reproducibility in scientific research. Researchers and interested parties can access the data through the provided links, enabling further exploration and validation of the study outcomes.


  • anomaly detection
  • Martingale theory
  • electromagnetic seismic precursors
  • Swarm satellites
  • earthquake


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