Crustal degassing of 4He from fault zones occurs throughout the seismic cycle which suggests variations in this flux could be a valuable seismic monitoring tool, according to an analysis of He flux calculations and seismic data from the Irpinia Fault Zone, Italy.Deep fluids play active roles during the preparatory phases of large earthquakes and, through their chemical signature, carry information about deep processes within the seismogenic crust. Due to its inertness and isotopic signature, helium (the lightest noble gas) is a useful tracer for investigating the processes of storage and transfer of fluids through the crust, including those prior to hazardous earthquakes. Here we analyse a 12-year earthquake catalogue from the Irpinia Fault Zone, Italy, to compute the He-4 outputs from the seismogenetic fault zones (from 10(4) to 10(6 )mol y(-1) with an annual tenfold variability) and compare these with estimates of long-term helium flux. We find that low-magnitude earthquakes (M < 4) efficiently contribute to variations of the crustal helium output into the atmosphere which supports the impulsive nature of He degassing in tectonically active continental regions. We conclude that there is a quantitative relationship between crustal helium outputs and the volume of fault zones, and suggest variations in helium flux may represent a gauge of changes in the stress field that are related to the nucleation of earthquakes.

Earthquakes control the impulsive nature of crustal helium degassing to the atmosphere

Buttitta, D;Paternoster, M;Stabile, TA
2022-01-01

Abstract

Crustal degassing of 4He from fault zones occurs throughout the seismic cycle which suggests variations in this flux could be a valuable seismic monitoring tool, according to an analysis of He flux calculations and seismic data from the Irpinia Fault Zone, Italy.Deep fluids play active roles during the preparatory phases of large earthquakes and, through their chemical signature, carry information about deep processes within the seismogenic crust. Due to its inertness and isotopic signature, helium (the lightest noble gas) is a useful tracer for investigating the processes of storage and transfer of fluids through the crust, including those prior to hazardous earthquakes. Here we analyse a 12-year earthquake catalogue from the Irpinia Fault Zone, Italy, to compute the He-4 outputs from the seismogenetic fault zones (from 10(4) to 10(6 )mol y(-1) with an annual tenfold variability) and compare these with estimates of long-term helium flux. We find that low-magnitude earthquakes (M < 4) efficiently contribute to variations of the crustal helium output into the atmosphere which supports the impulsive nature of He degassing in tectonically active continental regions. We conclude that there is a quantitative relationship between crustal helium outputs and the volume of fault zones, and suggest variations in helium flux may represent a gauge of changes in the stress field that are related to the nucleation of earthquakes.
2022
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11563/161911
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