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Institute of Geophysics of the CAS, v. v. i.
Bachura and Fischer - 2016 - Detailed velocity ratio mapping during the aftershock sequence as a tool to monitor the fluid activity within the fault plane.
Tomáš Fisher, a reseracher of the Instutite of Geophysics of Czech Academy of Science, together with Martin Bachura investigated velocity ratio during the aftershock sequence as a tool to monitor the fluid activity within the fault plane.
The rheological properties of Earth materials are expressed by their seismic velocities and VP/VS ratio, which is easily obtained by the Wadati method. Its double-difference version based on cross-correlated waveforms enables focusing on very local structures and allows tracking, monitoring and analysing the fluid activity along faults. We applied the method to three 2014 mainshock–aftershock sequences in the West Bohemia/Vogtland (Czech Republic) earthquake swarm area and found pronounced VP/VS variations in time and space for different clusters of events located on a steeply dipping fault zone at depths ranging from 7 to 11 km. Each cluster reflects the spatial distribution of earthquakes along the fault plane but also the temporal evolution of the activity. Low values of VP/VS ratio down to 1.59±0.02 were identified in the deeper part of the fault zone whereas higher values up to 1.73±0.01 were estimated for clusters located on a shallower segment of the fault. Temporally the low VP/VS values are associated with the early aftershocks, while the higher VP/VS ratios are related only to later aftershocks. We interpret this behaviour as a result of saturation of the focal zone by compressible fluids: in the beginning the mainshock and early aftershocks driven by over-pressured fluids increased the porosity due to opening the fluid pathways. This process was associated with a decrease of the velocity ratio. In later stages the pressure and porosity decreased and the velocity ratio recovered to levels of 1.73, typical for a Poissonian medium and Earth's crust.