How large earthquakes are triggered is a key question in Earth science, and the role played by fluid pressure seems to be crucial. Nevertheless, evaluation of involved fluid volumes is seldom investigated, if not unaccounted for. Moreover, fluid flow along fault zones is a driving factor for seismicity migration, episodic heat and chemical transport. Here we show that time repeated (4D) seismic tomography resolves changes of V-p and V-p/V-s during the Mw6.2 2009 L'Aquila normal faulting sequence, that indicate a post-failure fluid migration from hypocentral depths to the surface, with a volume estimated between 5 and 100 x 10(6) m(3) rising at rates up to 100 m/day. This amount inferred by tomograms is surprisingly consistent with the about 50 x 10(6) m(3) surplus water volume additionally measured at spring discharge, spread in time and space along the 700 km(2)-wide regional carbonate fractured aquifer. Fluids were pushed-up within a huge volume across the fault and expelled from the area of large coseismic slip. Such quantities of fluids liberated during earthquakes add unprecedented constraints to the discussion on the role of fluids during and possibly before earthquake, as well as to the potential impact on the pristine high-quality drinkable groundwater, possibly affecting the biodiversity of groundwater dependent ecosystems too.

Large extensional earthquakes push-up terrific amount of fluids

Chiarabba, Claudio
;
De Gori, Pasquale;Petitta, Marco;Carminati, Eugenio
2022

Abstract

How large earthquakes are triggered is a key question in Earth science, and the role played by fluid pressure seems to be crucial. Nevertheless, evaluation of involved fluid volumes is seldom investigated, if not unaccounted for. Moreover, fluid flow along fault zones is a driving factor for seismicity migration, episodic heat and chemical transport. Here we show that time repeated (4D) seismic tomography resolves changes of V-p and V-p/V-s during the Mw6.2 2009 L'Aquila normal faulting sequence, that indicate a post-failure fluid migration from hypocentral depths to the surface, with a volume estimated between 5 and 100 x 10(6) m(3) rising at rates up to 100 m/day. This amount inferred by tomograms is surprisingly consistent with the about 50 x 10(6) m(3) surplus water volume additionally measured at spring discharge, spread in time and space along the 700 km(2)-wide regional carbonate fractured aquifer. Fluids were pushed-up within a huge volume across the fault and expelled from the area of large coseismic slip. Such quantities of fluids liberated during earthquakes add unprecedented constraints to the discussion on the role of fluids during and possibly before earthquake, as well as to the potential impact on the pristine high-quality drinkable groundwater, possibly affecting the biodiversity of groundwater dependent ecosystems too.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1659737
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