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Magma Intrusions and Earthquake Swarm Occurrence in the Western Part of the Bohemian Massif

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We are proposing a hypothesis that earthquake swarms in the West Bohemia/Vogtland seismoactive region are generated by magmatic activity currently transported to the upper crustal layers. We assume that the injection of magma and/or related fluids and gases causes hydraulic fracturing which is manifested as an earthquake swarm at the surface. Our statements are supported by three spheres of evidence coming from the western part of the Bohemian Massif: characteristic manifestations of recent geodynamic activity, the information from the neighbouring KTB deep drilling project and from the 9HR seismic reflection profile, and the detailed analysis of local seismological data. (1) Recent manifestations of geodynamic activity include Quaternary volcanism, rich CO 2 emissions, anomalies of mantle-derived 3 He, mineral springs, moffets, etc. (2) The fluid injection experiment in the neighbouring KTB deep borehole at a depth of 9 km induced hundreds of micro-earthquakes. This indicates that the Earth's crust is near frictional failure in the western part of the Bohemian Massif and an addition of a small amount of energy to the tectonic stress is enough to induce an earthquake. Some pronounced reflections in the closely passing 9HR seismic reflection profile are interpreted as being caused by recent magmatic sills in the crust. (3) The local broadband seismological network WEBNET provides high quality data that enable precise localization of seismic events. The events of the January 1997 earthquake swarm are confined to an extremely narrow volume at depths of about 9 km. Their seismograms display pronounced reflections of P- and S-waves in the upper crust. The analysis of the process of faulting has disclosed a considerable variability of the source mechanism during the swarm.

We conclude that the mechanism of intraplate earthquake swarms generated by magma intrusions is similar to that of induced seismicity. As the recent tectonic processes and manifestations of geodynamic activity are similar in European areas with repeated earthquake swarm occurrence (Bohemian Massif, French Massif Central, Rhine Graben), we assume that magma intrusions and related fluid and gas release at depths of about 10 km are the universal cause of intraplate earthquake swarm generation

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Špičák, A., Horálek, J., Boušková, A. et al. Magma Intrusions and Earthquake Swarm Occurrence in the Western Part of the Bohemian Massif. Studia Geophysica et Geodaetica 43, 87–106 (1999).

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  • earthquake swarms
  • magma intrusions
  • fluids
  • Bohemian Massif
  • induced seismicity
  • KTB
  • 9HR