Gravity changes due to overpressure sources in 3D heterogeneous media: application to Campi Flegrei caldera, Italy

E. Trasatti, M. Bonafede


Employing 3D finite element method, we develop an algorithm to calculate gravity changes
due to pressurized sources of any shape in elastic and inelastic heterogeneous media. We
consider different source models, such as sphere, spheroid and sill, dilating in elastic media
(homogeneous and heterogeneous) and in elasto-plastic media. The models are oriented to
reproduce the gravity changes and the surface deformation observed at Campi Flegrei caldera
(Italy), during the 1982-84 unrest episode. The source shape and the characteristics of the
medium have great influence in the calculated gravity changes, leading to very different values
for the source densities. Indeed, the gravity residual strongly depends upon the shape of the
source. Non negligible contributions also come from density and rigidity heterogeneities within
the medium. Furthermore, if the caldera is elasto-plastic, the resulting gravity changes exhibit
a pattern similar to that provided by a low effective rigidity. Even if the variation of the source volumes is quite similar for most of the models considered, the density inferred for the
source ranges from ? 400 kg/m3 (supercritical water) to ? 3300 kg/m3 (higher than trachytic
basalts), with drastically different implications for risk assessment.


Campi Flegrei;Deformation;gravity;finite element method;heterogeneous medium

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