Stress tensor computation from earthquake fault-plane solutions: an application to seismic swarms at Mt. Etna volcano (Italy)

S. Gresta, C. Musumeci


Fault-plane solutions of some tens of local earthquakes which occurred at Mt. Etna volcano during 1983-1986 have been inverted for stress tensor parameters by the algorithm of Gephart and Forsyth (1984). Three seismic sequences were focused on which respectively occurred during a flank eruption (June 1983), just after the end of a subterminal eruption (October 1984) and during an inter-eruptive period (May 1986). The application to the three sets of data of both the "approximate" and the "exact" methods evidenced the stability of results, and the stress directions are well defined in spite of the small number of events used for the inversion. The s1 obtained agrees with the regional tectonic framework, nearly horizontal and oriented N-S, only in the shallow crust, and just after the 1984 eruption. This supports the hypothesis of a tectonic control on the end of the eruptive activities at Mt. Etna. Conversely, results concerning the depth range 10-30 km are in apparent disagreement with other investigations (Cocina et al., 1997), as well as with the regional tectonics. The stress was here found homogeneous, but with s1 respectively trending ENE-WSW (June 1983) and E-W (May 1986). We suggest that the stress field could be temporarily modified by a local stress regime driven by the intrusion of uprising magma.


Mt. Etna;fault-plane solutions;inversion;stress field

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X