Local Earthquake Tomography at Mt. Pinatubo, Philippines

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Virginia Tech

A new high-resolution 3-dimensional P-wave velocity model for Mt. Pinatubo volcano was developed by tomographic inversion of P-wave arrivals from 3,007 earthquakes recorded during a four month period from May to August, 1991. The arrivals were recorded by a network of seismic stations, consisting of seven pre-eruption stations and seven post-eruption stations. Two stations survived the June eruptions. First-arrival travel times were calculated using a finite-difference solution to the eikonal equation. An iterative, linearized approximation of the nonlinear tomography problem was used to solve separately for both velocity structure and hypocenter locations. Several inversions performed with different initial parameters and convergence schemes, and synthetic checkerboard reconstructions indicate a horizontal spatial resolution of velocity perturbations near 4 km. However, the network sparseness allows for a substantial trade-off between focal depth, origin time, and the vertical velocity profile. Many hypocenter clusters collapse from diffuse clouds into tighter features after 3-D relocation. These bands of earthquakes appear to represent fault-related structures. Three low-velocity (relative to the horizontal average) anomalies exist within the well-resolved portion of the velocity model. These anomalies are spatially associated with pre- and post-eruption earthquakes oriented along mapped surface fault zones. Similar anomalies observed at different volcanoes have been previously interpreted as magma related. The low-velocity anomalies at Pinatubo are interpreted as highly fractured, hot volumes of mostly competent rock, which may contain partial melt.

Volcano, 3-D Velocity Model, Earthquake Tomography, Low Velocity Zone