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Global observation of vertical-CLVD earthquakes at active volcanoes

Shuler, Ashley Elizabeth; Nettles, Meredith K.; Ekström, Göran

Some of the largest and most anomalous volcanic earthquakes have non-double-couple focal mechanisms. Here, we investigate the link between volcanic unrest and the occurrence of non-double-couple earthquakes with dominant vertical tension or pressure axes, known as vertical compensated-linear-vector-dipole (vertical-CLVD) earthquakes. We determine focal mechanisms for 313 target earthquakes from the standard and surface wave catalogs of the Global Centroid Moment Tensor Project and identify 86 shallow 4.3 ≤ MW ≤ 5.8 vertical-CLVD earthquakes located near volcanoes that have erupted in the last ~100 years. The majority of vertical-CLVD earthquakes occur in subduction zones in association with basaltic-to-andesitic stratovolcanoes or submarine volcanoes, although vertical-CLVD earthquakes are also located in continental rifts and in regions of hot spot volcanism. Vertical-CLVD earthquakes are associated with many types of confirmed or suspected eruptive activity at nearby volcanoes, including volcanic earthquake swarms as well as effusive and explosive eruptions and caldera collapse. Approximately 70% of all vertical-CLVD earthquakes studied occur during episodes of documented volcanic unrest at a nearby volcano. Given that volcanic unrest is underreported, most shallow vertical-CLVD earthquakes near active volcanoes are likely related to magma migration or eruption processes. Vertical-CLVD earthquakes with dominant vertical pressure axes generally occur after volcanic eruptions, whereas vertical-CLVD earthquakes with dominant vertical tension axes generally occur before the start of volcanic unrest. The occurrence of these events may be useful for identifying volcanoes that have recently erupted and those that are likely to erupt in the future.


Also Published In

Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth

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