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Authors: Petrini, R.* 
Italiano, F.* 
Riggio, A.* 
Slejko, F.F.* 
Santulin, M.* 
Buccianti, A.* 
Bonfanti, P.* 
Slejko, D.* 
Title: Coupling geochemical and geophysical signatures to constrain strain changes along thrust faults
Issue Date: Mar-2012
Series/Report no.: /53 (2012)
DOI: 10.4430/bgta0017
Keywords: earthquakes
soil degassing
geochemical transients
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.12. Fluid Geochemistry 
Abstract: Anomalous geochemical signals inferred from elemental and isotopic analyses on spring waters and soil degassing are often detected in response to tectonic loading along faults. Recent results highlighted how the geochemical anomalies are closely related to episodes of crustal deformation. In the present study, the carbon dioxide and radon from soil degassing and the geochemical features of springs spatially related to fault zones in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region (north-eastern Italy), a seismic-prone area, have been coupled with crustal deformation analyses to better define the possible correlations between fluctuations of geochemical parameters and seismicity, with the aim of gaining new information about local geodynamic processes. The natural CO2 and Rn degassing was evaluated by a soil gas survey carried out by a grid of about 100 measuring sites located over the area that had been hit by strong earthquakes, in the past (Gemona – Idrija 1511, Raveo 1700, Tolmezzo 1788 and 1928, Gemona 1976). The results obtained show a significant amount of crustal-originated gases, especially CO2, possibly related to decarbonation reactions and stress accumulation occurring in deep-seated structures. The spring waters show, in some cases, anomalous geochemical transients, in particular concerning the chloride and Rn concentration, that are not related to seasonal changes and interpreted to reflect distinct fluid pressure regimes within the fault zone, yielding the leakage of pore fluids into the country-rock aquifers. In particular, the changes in the chloride content have been tentatively modeled in terms of pore-fluid expulsion from compacting clays during pressure gradients at shallow crustal levels. The flow regimes and chemical evolution have been related to the strain computed at the outlet sites through the Gutenberg–Richter relation parameters and the regional value of the strain rate. The information provided here may be used to start up a long-term geochemical monitoring of this seismically active area able to detect the modifications occurring in the circulating fluids to gain a better insight on the relationships between the geochemistry of the fluids and the activity of the local seismogenic faults.
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