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Authors: Del Pezzo, E.* 
Bianco, F.* 
Saccorotti, G.* 
Title: Seismic source dynamics at Vesuvius volcano, Italy
Journal: Journal of volcanology and geothermal research 
Series/Report no.: 133
Publisher: Elsevier
Issue Date: 2004
DOI: 10.1016/S0377-0273(03)00389-5
Keywords: Vesuvius
Seismic source
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.06. Seismology::04.06.08. Volcano seismology 
Abstract: On October 9, 1999 an earthquake of ML =3.6 occurred about 3 km beneath the central cone of Mt. Vesuvius, near Naples, Italy. The event had the highest magnitude recorded for at least 25 years, and possibly since the last eruption of this volcano (1944), and was not accompanied by other geophysical or geochemical changes. The present paper essentially deals with the seismological data collected at Mt. Vesuvius for 29 years before the October 9 earthquake till the end of 2001, and describes the time pattern distribution of seismic slip release and the b-parameter of the Gutenberg^Richter distribution. The self-similarity of the source process is investigated through the scaling law of the seismic spectrum. Results indicate a two-fold pattern of stress release, with high values (up to 100 bar) for earthquakes occurring close to the top of the carbonate basement that underlies the volcano at 2^3 km of depth, and low values (down to 0.1 bar) for the shallow events occurring within the volcanic edifice. The scaling law of the seismic spectrum is non-self-similar, indicating that the source dimensions do not scale with the seismic moment. For this reason the low-magnitude events substantially contribute to the overall cumulative seismic slip release. The bparameter of the Gutenberg^Richter distribution shows a variation around 1980, and a substantial constancy in the other time periods. The presence of extended aquifers, with their tops at about 1 km beneath the crater, favors the hypothesis of the triggering of the shallowest events by water-level changes. This hypothesis is in agreement with the low values of the stress drop measured for the shallowest seismic events. The existence of a carbonate basement with its top at about 2.5 km beneath the crater and the higher stress drops for the deeper events make reasonable the hypothesis that the pre-fractured carbonate basement may be the site of tectonic stress release.
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