Seismic activity near the Moriyoshi-zan volcano in Akita Prefecture, northeastern Japan: implications for geofluid migration and a midcrustal geofluid reservoir

Friday, 19 December 2014
Masahiro Kosuga, Hirosaki University, Aomori, Japan
The 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku (Tohoku-oki) earthquake caused increased seismicity in many inland areas in Japan. A triggered seismic cluster north of the Moriyoshi-zan volcano in Akita prefecture, Tohoku District, is of interest in light of the contribution of geofluids to seismic activity. We observed an active seismic cluster characterized by the migration of seismicity and reflected/scattered phases. We relocated hypocenters of the cluster using data from temporal observations and the hypoDD location technique, which significantly increased the hypocentral accuracy. We interpreted a complex spatiotemporal variation of seismicity in the cluster as the migration of pore fluid pressure from multiple pressure sources. The hydraulic diffusivity of the cluster was in the range of 0.01 to 0.7 m2/s and increased with time, implying that the migration of hypocenters accelerated after a pathway for fluids was formed by fracturing of the wall rock during the initial stage of seismic activity. A prominent feature of the seismograms is a reflected/scattered phase observed at stations around the volcano. We regard the phase as S-to-S scattered waves and estimated the location of the scatterers using a back-projection method. The scatterers are inferred to be located about 5 km northwest of the Moriyoshi-zan volcano, at an approximate depth of 13 km. The Moriyoshi-zan area is one of the source areas of deep low-frequency earthquakes that have been interpreted as events generated by the migration of geofluids. The depth of the scatterers is close to the upper depth limit of low-frequency earthquakes. Thus, we interpret the observed scatterers to be a reservoir of geofluid that came from the uppermost mantle accompanying contemporaneous low-frequency earthquakes.