The January 2006 Volcanic-Tectonic Earthquake Swarm at Mount Martin, Alaska

Professional Paper 1760-D




On January 8, 2006, a swarm of volcanic-tectonic earthquakes began beneath Mount Martin at the southern end of the Katmai volcanic cluster. This was the first recorded swarm at Mount Martin since continuous seismic monitoring began in 1996. The number of located earthquakes increased during the next four days, reaching a peak on January 11. For the next two days, the seismic activity decreased, and on January 14, the number of events increased to twice the previous day's total. Following this increase in activity, seismicity declined, returning to background levels by the end of the month. The Alaska Volcano Observatory located 860 earthquakes near Mount Martin during January 2006. No additional signs of volcanic unrest were noted in association with this earthquake swarm. The earthquakes in the Mount Martin swarm, relocated using the double difference technique, formed an elongated cluster dipping to the southwest. Focal mechanisms beneath Mount Martin show a mix of normal, thrust, and strike-slip solutions, with normal focal mechanisms dominating. For earthquakes more than 1 km from Mount Martin, all focal mechanisms showed normal faulting. The calculated b-value for the Mount Martin swarm is 0.98 and showed no significant change before, during, or after the swarm. The triggering mechanism for the Mount Martin swarm is unknown. The time-history of earthquake occurrence is indicative of a volcanic cause; however, there were no low-frequency events or observations, such as increased steaming associated with the swarm. During the swarm, there was no change in the b-value, and the distribution and type of focal mechanisms were similar to those in the period before the anomalous activity. The short duration of the swarm, the similarity in observed focal mechanisms, and the lack of additional signs of unrest suggest this swarm did not result from a large influx of magma within the shallow crust beneath Mount Martin.

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The January 2006 Volcanic-Tectonic Earthquake Swarm at Mount Martin, Alaska
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Professional Paper
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U.S. Geological Survey
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Alaska Science Center
iv, 17 p.
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