Characterization of Seismicity at Volcán Baru, Panama: May 2013 through April 2014

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Chet J Hopp and Gregory P Waite, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI, United States
Volcán Baru, located in the western province of Chiriquí, is Panamas youngest and most active volcano. Although Baru has experienced no historic eruptions there have been four eruptive episodes in the last 1,600 years, the most recent occuring 400-500 years ago (Sherrod et al., 2008). In addition there have been four reported earthquake swarms in the last 100 years. The most recent swarm occured in May of 2006, prompting a USGS hazard assessment (Sherrod et al., 2008). Given its proximity to populated valleys on both the east and west flanks as well as to the coastal plain and interamerican highway 30km to the south, Baru presents a significant hazard. Residents of the small towns on the flanks of Baru frequently feel and hear earthquakes, yet there is no permanent monitoring network, seismic or otherwise, in place. In order to characterize local seismicity and provide a reference for future monitoring efforts, we established a seismic network that operated from May 2013 through April 2014. The network consisted of eight temporary single component, short period sensors generously loaned by OSOP Panama, two permanent sensors (one three component and one single component) funded by the University of Panama, and one three component broadband sensor owned by Angel Rodriguez. These were distributed over a 35 by 15 km area. Preliminary analysis suggests that local, M 0-3.5 events occur at the rate of 10-20 per month. Analysis of the earthquake catalog and the significance of shallow seismicity at Baru will be presented.

Sherrod, D.R., Vallance, J.W., Tapia Espinosa, A., and McGeehin, J.P., 2008, Volcan Baru—eruptive history and volcano-hazards assessment: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007–1401, 33 p.