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Crustal permeability changes observed from seismic attenuation: Impacts on multi-mainshock sequences

July 25, 2022

We use amplitude ratios from narrowband-filtered earthquake seismograms to measure variations of seismic attenuation over time, providing unique insights into the dynamic state of stress in the Earth’s crust at depth. Our dataset from earthquakes of the 2016-2017 Central Apennines sequence allows us to obtain high-resolution time histories of seismic attenuation (frequency band: 0.5-30 Hz) characterized by strong earthquake dilatation-induced fluctuations at seismogenic depths, caused by the cumulative elastic stress drop after the sequence, as well as damage-induced ones at shallow depths caused by energetic surface waves.
Cumulative stress drop causes negative dilatation, reduced permeability, and seismic attenuation, whereas strong-motion surface waves produce an increase in crack density, and so in permeability and seismic attenuation. In the aftermath of the main shocks of the sequence, we show that the M ≥ 3.5 earthquake occurrence vs. time and distance is consistent with fluid diffusion: diffusion signatures are associated with changes in seismic attenuation during the first days of the Amatrice, Visso-Norcia, and Capitignano sub-sequences. We hypothesize that coseismic permeability changes create fluid diffusion pathways that are at least partly responsible for triggering multi-mainshock seismic sequences. Here we show that anelastic seismic attenuation fluctuates coherently with our hypothesis.

Publication Year 2022
Title Crustal permeability changes observed from seismic attenuation: Impacts on multi-mainshock sequences
DOI 10.3389/feart.2022.963689
Authors Luca Malagnini, Thomas E. Parsons, Irene Munafo, Simone Mancini, Margarita Segou, Eric L. Geist
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Frontiers in Earth Science
Index ID 70234107
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center