Applied Geophysics

Seismoelectric effect

The seismoelectric effect is a smalll disturbance of the electrical potential in the subsurface during the passage of a compressional seismic wave.

Different signals can be observed:

  • the coseismic wave progagates with seismic velocity and is coupled directly with the seismic P-wave.
  • the convert wave (or interface response) is a electromagetic wave. It travels with the speed of light. It is generated at an layer interface during the transmission of the P-wave from one to the other layer.


We focus on 

  • the observability of the seismoelectric efffect for earthquakes and
  • on the dependence of the seismoelectirc effect on subsurface parameter as porocity, salinity, permeability. 



M. Strahser. W. Rabbel, F. Schildknecht (2007) Polarisation and slowness of seismoelectric signals: a case study, Near Surf. Geophys., 5, 97–114.

L. Dzieran, M. Thorwart, W. Rabbel, O. Ritter (2019), Quantifying interface responses with seismoelectric spectral ratios, Geophysical Journal International, Volume 217, Issue 1,  Pages 108–121,

L Dzieran, M Thorwart, W Rabbel (2020), Seismoelectric monitoring of aquifers using local seismicity—a feasibility study, Geophysical Journal International, Volume 222, Issue 2, Pages 874–892,