Relations between pressurized triaxial cavities and moment tensor distributions

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Claudio Ferrari
Maurizio Bonafede
Elisa Trasatti


Pressurized cavities are commonly used to compute ground deformation in volcanic areas: the set of available solutions is limited and in some cases the moment tensors inferred from inversion of geodetic data cannot be associated with any of the available models. Two different source models (pure tensile source, TS and mixed tensile/shear source, MS) are studied using a boundary element approach for rectangular dislocations buried in a homogeneous elastic medium employing a new C/C++ code which provides a new implementation of the dc3d Okada fortran code. Pressurized triaxial cavities are obtained assigning the overpressure in the middle of each boundary element distributed over the cavity surface. The MS model shows a moment domain very similar to triaxial ellipsoidal cavities. The TS and MS models are also compared in terms of the total volume increment limiting the analysis to cubic sources: the observed discrepancy (~10%) is interpreted in terms of the different deformation of the source interior which provides significantly different internal contributions (~30%). Comparing the MS model with a Mogi source with the some volume, the overpressure of the latter must be ~37% greater than the former, in order to obtain the same surface deformation; however the outward expansion and the inner contraction separately differ by ~±10% and the total volume increments differ only by ~2%. Thus, the density estimations for the intrusion extracted from the MS model and the Mogi model are nearly identical.

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Ferrari, C., Bonafede, M. and Trasatti, E. (2015) “Relations between pressurized triaxial cavities and moment tensor distributions”, Annals of Geophysics, 58(4), p. S0438. doi: 10.4401/ag-6737.

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