Seismic investigation of magmatic unrest beneath mammoth mountain, california, USA

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21 Scopus citations


I present a reinvestigation of the seismic activity during an 11-mo-long seismic swarm between 1989 and 1990 beneath Mammoth Mountain in eastern California (United States). This swarm, believed to be the result of a shallow intrusion of magma beneath Mammoth Mountain, was followed by the emission of magmatic CO2 gas, resulting in tree die-offin 1990 and posing a significant human health risk around Mammoth Mountain. In this study, I apply a state-of-the-art approach to estimate the ratio of compressional- to shear-wave velocity (Vp/Vs) within similar event clusters using differential times from waveform crosscorrelation. A high-resolution three-dimensional seismic velocity model and a precise earthquake location catalog are obtained to complement the analysis of the in situ Vp/Vs ratios. The majority of the relocated seismicity below sea level is distributed in an anomalous body with low Vp and high Vp/Vs, consistent with the seismic expression of the magma body that triggered the seismic swarm. Abrupt changes in Vp/Vs ratios, with lower values for the shallow depths, are observed near sea level, indicating the source of the 1989 CO2 flux is a shallow CO2 reservoir instead of the hypothesized basaltic magma at mid-crustal depths of 10-25 km. From sea level to the surface, low Vp/Vs ratios in a near-vertical zone suggest involvement of fluid in the upward-migration of the seismicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)847-850
Number of pages4
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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