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Issue Date: 19-Feb-2013
Authors: Milluzzo, Vincenzo
Title: Seismic chacterization of Vulcano island and Aeolian area by tectonic and seismo-volcanic events
Abstract: We investigated the relationship between seismo-volcanic events, recorded at La Fossa crater of Vulcano (Aeolian Islands, Italy) during 2004-2009, and the dynamics of the hydrothermal system. During the period of study, six episodes of increasing numbers of seismo-volcanic events took place at the same time as geothermal and geochemical anomalies were observed. These geothermal and geochemical anomalies have been interpreted as resulting from an increasing deep magmatic component of the hydrothermal fluids. Four classes of seismic events (long period, high frequency, monochromatic and tornillos events), characterised by different spectral content and various similarity of the waveforms, have been recognised. These events, clustered mainly below La Fossa crater area at depths of 0.5 1.1 km b.s.l., were space-distributed according to the classes. Based on their features, we can infer that such events at Vulcano are related to two different source mechanisms: (1) fracturing processes of rocks and (2) resonance of cracks (or conduits) filled with hydrothermal fluid. In the light of these source mechanisms, the increase in the number of events, at the same time as geochemical and geothermal anomalies were observed, was interpreted as the result of an increasing magmatic component of the hydrothermal fluids, implying an increase of their flux. Indeed, such variation caused an increase of both the pore pressure within the rocks of the volcanic system and the amount of ascending fluids. Increased pore pressures gave rise to fracturing processes, while the increased fluid flux favoured resonance and vibration processes in cracks and conduits. Finally, a gradual temporal variation of the waveform of the hybrid events (one of the subclasses of long period events) was observed, likely caused by heating and drying of the hydrothermal system. After careful analysis of the seismo-volcanic events of the Aeolian Islands area, the attention was paid to the tectonic events, in order to find possible relationships with the volcanic activity in the area. The aim of this part of the thesis was to identify spatial clusters of earthquakes, locate active seismogenic zone and their relationships with the volcanic activity in the Aeolian Islands. High precision locations were performed in the present thesis, by applying the concept of the velocity model-hypocentres joint inversion and earthquake relocations, along with an analysis of the fault plane solutions. In order to improve our knowledge on the active seismo-tectonics areas we exploited a dataset encompassing 351 events recorded during a 17 year period (1993-2010). Overall, our results show that part of the seismicity is clustered along active seismogenic structures that concur with the main regional tectonic trends whose activity furnishes new elements to better understand the dynamics of the area. A cluster of 24 events in the northern part of Vulcano, NE-SW oriented, marks the presence of a structure that seems to play a key role in magma uprising at Vulcano. These earthquakes suggest the existence of a seismogenic structure (passing just below Vulcanello), which could be interpreted as a discontinuity linking the two magma accumulation zones, thereby representing a possible preferential pathway along which magma may intrude as well as being responsible for fluid migration toward the surface. The results presented in this thesis suggest that the comparison of seismic, ground deformation and temperature data can be useful for better understanding the dynamics of a complex volcano-hydrothermal system, including a better definition of the origin of a volcano unrest, and hence for improving the estimation of the level of the local volcanic hazard.
Appears in Collections:Area 04 - Scienze della terra

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