Radon Changes Associated with the Earthquake Sequence in June 2000 in the South Iceland Seismic Zone
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An earthquake sequence at the transform plate boundary in South Iceland, that included two magnitude 6.5 earthquakes in June 2000, was anticipated on the basis of a centuries-long seismicity pattern in the area. A program of radon monitoring in geothermal water from drill holes, initiated in 1999, rendered distinct and consistent variations in radon in association with these events. All seven sampling stations in a 50 × 30 km zone covering the epicentral area showed a consistent pattern. Four types of change could be identified: 1) Preseismic decrease of radon. Anomalously low values were measured 101–167 days before the earthquakes. 2) Preseismic increase. Spikes appear in the time series at six stations 40–144 days prior to the earthquakes. These anomalies were large and unusual if compared to a 17-years history of radon monitoring in this area. 3) Coseismic step, most likely related to the coseismic change in groundwater pressure observed over the entire area. 4) Postseismic return of the radon values to the preseismic level about three months later, also concurrent with groundwater pressure changes.
KeywordsSouth Iceland Seismic Zone radon earthquake precursor co-scismic changes
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