International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 106, Issue 3, pp 959–965 | Cite as

Shallow earthquake swarms in southern Ryukyu area: manifestation of dynamics of fluid and/or magma plumbing system revealed by teleseismic and regional datasets

  • Aleš ŠpičákEmail author
  • Jiří Vaněk
Original Paper


Earthquake swarm occurrence beneath volcanic domains is one of the indicators of current magmatic activity in the Earth’s crust. Repeated occurrence of teleseismically recorded earthquake swarms has been observed in the lithospheric wedge of the southern Ryukyu area above the subducting slab of the Philippine Sea Plate. The swarms were analyzed using the EHB, ISC and JMA catalogs of hypocenter parameters. The swarm earthquakes are shallow (1–60 km), in the body-wave magnitude range up to 5.8. The swarms are distributed beneath the seafloor, parallel to the Ryukyu Trench along a belt connecting active subaerial volcanoes Io-Torishima north-east and Kueishantao west of the investigated area. Epicentral zones of the swarms often coincide with distinct elevations at the seafloor—seamounts and seamount ranges. The top of the subducting slab reaches a depth of about 100 km beneath the zones of earthquake swarm occurrence, which is an average depth of a slab beneath volcanoes in general. The repeated occurrence of relatively strong, teleseismically recorded earthquake swarms thus probably reflects fluid and/or magma migration in the plumbing system of the volcanic arc and points to brittle character of the lithospheric wedge at respective depths. In addition to the factual results, this study documents the high accuracy of hypocenter parameter determinations published by the International Seismological Centre and the usefulness of the EHB relocation procedure.


Earthquake swarms Southern Ryukyu Wadati-Benioff zone Seamounts Magma plumbing system Earthquake catalogs 

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 19 kb)
531_2016_1344_MOESM2_ESM.eps (7.3 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (EPS 7489 kb)
531_2016_1344_MOESM3_ESM.eps (3.4 mb)
Supplementary material 3 (EPS 3508 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of GeophysicsAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicPraha 4Czech Republic

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