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Statistics of seismicity associated with a sequence of explosive eruptions at Kilauea, Hawaii

Rebecca A. Fildes, Louise H. Kellogg, Donald L. Turcotte, & John B. Rundle

Published August 15, 2018, SCEC Contribution #8714, 2018 SCEC Annual Meeting Poster #037

Beginning about June 4, 2018, a remarkable quasi-periodic sequence of explosive eruptions began at Kilauea volcano, Hawaii. Explosive summit eruptions began after the M=6.9 earthquake on May 4, 2018 and the decay of its aftershock sequence. These eruptions, typically releasing the energy equivalent of a M = 5.3 earthquake, were associated with the drainage of magma from beneath the summit to the East Rift where surface eruptions occurred. The mean inter-eruption time at the summit was 1.30 +/- 0.32 days and the mean earthquake occurrence during each of these inter-event periods was 603 +/- 204 earthquakes. We consider only earthquakes with M ≥ 2. In the magnitude range 2.5 - 4.0 this seismicity has a good correlation with Gutenberg-Richter scaling, but with a somewhat high b = 1.6. Between each pair of eruptions there was a similar pattern of seismicity. Following an explosive eruption, there was a relatively quiescent period typically lasting 0.41 +/- 0.14 days, with no indication of aftershocks. Following the quiescent period, there was a sudden onset of seismicity at a nearly constant rate of 677 +/- 84 earthquakes per day. These active periods lasted 0.89 +/- 0.32 days. We show that the time series of inter-eruption times is strongly anti-persistent. To illustrate this behavior, we consider three consecutive inter-event periods. In the first period, there were 607 earthquakes with an active period of 0.80 days at a rate of 751 events per day. In the next period, 982 earthquakes occurred with the active period lasting 1.43 days at a rate of 679 events per day. In the third period, there were 604 earthquakes and an active period of 0.94 days at a rate of 641 events per day. Future studies of this remarkable volcanic and seismic sequence should provide important insights into both the physics of volcanic eruptions and their associated earthquakes.

Fildes, R. A., Kellogg, L. H., Turcotte, D. L., & Rundle, J. B. (2018, 08). Statistics of seismicity associated with a sequence of explosive eruptions at Kilauea, Hawaii. Poster Presentation at 2018 SCEC Annual Meeting.

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