This record is in review state, the data has not yet been validated.
Complex magmatic-tectonic interactions during the 2020 Makushin Volcano, Alaska, earthquake swarm
- Journal Article
On June 15, 2020, at 21:16 UTC, a locally-felt earthquake of magnitude 4.2 struck Unalaska Island, Alaska, ∼15 km west of the town of Unalaska and the large fishing port of Dutch Harbor. The event was followed by a M4.1 earthquake at 00:34 UTC and several M3+ aftershocks, initiating a prolific sequence with hundreds of earthquakes recorded into late December. The earthquakes all locate about 12 km southeast of the summit of Makushin Volcano at 7 to 10 km depth. To date, no eruptive activity or other surface changes have been observed at the volcano in webcam images, GPS or InSAR. Seismic bursts close to volcanoes are often associated with the onset of unrest that can lead to eruption. However, determining whether seismicity reflects magmatic rather than tectonic stresses is often challenging, although critical for hazard assessments and risk management strategies. To investigate the triggering mechanisms of the recent Makushin seismicity, we integrate information from space-time patterns of the earthquake hypocenters with their fault-plane solutions. We relocate the swarm events using double-difference relocation techniques and a 3D velocity model and find that the earthquakes, although they seem to follow two predominant orientations (NW-SE and SW-NE), do not show clear clustering into preferred alignments. Similarly, we do not observe pronounced migration in time and space. Fault-plane solutions (FPS) for all but one M2.5+ earthquakes have P-axis orientations consistent with subhorizontal NW-SE oriented regional maximum compression, whereas many of the lower-magnitude earthquakes have P-axes perpendicular to regional maximum compression. This provides evidence for the presence of a local stress field likely induced by magma intrusion. Results from Coulomb stress modeling are also consistent with dike inflation modulated by stresses induced by the M4+ earthquakes. The seismic swarm is thus likely linked to a superposition of driving stresses from both magmatic and tectonic processes on pre-existing faults. The case of the 2020 Makushin swarm, with its unusual characteristics, challenges traditional swarm classification schemes and suggests that a reconsideration of the definition of seismic swarms as having the maximum magnitude event in the middle of the swarm is warranted. Show more
Journal / seriesEarth and Planetary Science Letters
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