The 3D Attenuation Structure of Deception Island (Antarctica)

Abstract

The seismic and volcanological structure of Deception Island (Antarctica) is an intense focus topic in Volcano Geophysics. The interpretations given by scientists on the origin, nature, and location of the structures buried under the island strongly diverge. We present a high-resolution 3D P-wave attenuation tomography model obtained by using the coda normalization method on 20,293 high-quality waveforms produced by active sources. The checkerboard and synthetic anomaly tests guarantee the reproduction of the input anomalies under the island down to a depth of 4 km. The results, once compared with our current knowledge on the geological, geochemical, and geophysical structure of the region, depict Deception as a piecemeal caldera structure coming out of the Bransfield Trough. High-attenuation anomalies contouring the northeastern emerged caldera rim correlate with the locations of sediments. In our interpretation, the main attenuation contrast, which appears under the collapsed southeastern caldera rim, is related to the deeper feeding systems. A unique P-wave high-attenuation spherical-like anomaly in the inner bay extends between depths of 1 and 3 km. The northern contour of the anomaly coincides with the calderic rim both at 1 and 2 km, while smaller anomalies connect it with deeper structures below 3 km, dipping toward the Bransfield Trough. In our interpretation, the large upper anomaly is caused by a high-temperature shallow (1–3 km deep) geothermal system, located beneath the sediment-filled bay in the collapsed blocks and heated by smaller, deeper contributions of molten materials (magma) rising from southeast.

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Acknowledgments

We gratefully acknowledge the Editor in Chief, Prof. Rycroft, Prof. Joan Martí, and one anonymous reviewer whose useful suggestions greatly improved the manuscript. This work has been partially supported by the Spanish Project Ephestos, CGL2011-29499-C02-01; by the EU Project EC-FP7 MEDiterranean SUpersite Volcanoes (MED-SUV); by the Basque Government researcher training program BFI09.277; and by the Regional project ‘Grupo de Investigación en Geofísica y Sismología de la Junta de Andalucía, RNM104’. Edoardo del Pezzo has been partly supported by DPC-INGV projects UNREST, SPEED and V2 (Precursori). We also thank Christine Thomas, Ralf Hetzel, and Stephan Klemme for the important suggestions regarding both the method and the interpretation.

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Correspondence to L. De Siena.

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Prudencio, J., De Siena, L., Ibáñez, J.M. et al. The 3D Attenuation Structure of Deception Island (Antarctica). Surv Geophys 36, 371–390 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10712-015-9322-6

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Keywords

  • Attenuation
  • Scattering
  • Tomography
  • Antarctica