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Ring fault creep drives volcano-tectonic seismicity during caldera collapse of Kīlauea in 2018

July 11, 2023

Basaltic caldera collapses are episodic, producing very-long-period (VLP) earthquakes up to Mw 5.4, with prolific inter-collapse (between collapses) volcano-tectonic (VT) seismicity. During the 2018 caldera collapse of Kīlauea Volcano, VT seismicity ceased following each collapse, and then accelerated to a quasi-steady rate prior to the next collapse, marking a temporal pattern distinct from typical foreshock/aftershock sequences. There is currently no consensus on the mechanism(s) that generates the VT seismicity. Here we demonstrate that inter-collapse ring fault creep, induced by chamber depressurization, was the main driver of VT seismicity at Kīlauea in 2018. This is evidenced by: 1) the correlation between cumulative number of VT events and GNSS-derived ring fault creep; 2) agreement between repeating earthquake and GNSS derived creep rates; and 3) consistency between the time dependence of mechanically modeled, creep-driven seismicity and observations. We further show that, ring fault creep can be explained by velocity strengthening friction alone or in conjunction with viscous shear zone rheology. The simultaneous occurrence of creep and seismicity highlights the spatially heterogeneous velocity weakening/strengthening friction on the ring fault. If the VT seismicity-creep correlation can be replicated at other basaltic volcanoes, it would demonstrate that VT seismicity can be used as a proxy for ring fault creep in the absence of GNSS measurements on subsiding caldera block(s).

Publication Year 2023
Title Ring fault creep drives volcano-tectonic seismicity during caldera collapse of Kīlauea in 2018
DOI 10.1016/j.epsl.2023.118288
Authors Taiyi A. Wang, Paul Segall, Alicia J. Hotovec-Ellis, Kyle R. Anderson, Peter F. Cervelli
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Index ID 70246733
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Volcano Science Center