Two-way coupling between Vesuvius eruptions and southern Apennine earthquakes, Italy, by elastic stress transfer
Article first published online: 20 SEP 2012
Copyright 1998 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth (1978–2012)
Volume 103, Issue B10, pages 24487–24504, 10 October 1998
How to Cite
1998), Two-way coupling between Vesuvius eruptions and southern Apennine earthquakes, Italy, by elastic stress transfer, J. Geophys. Res., 103(B10), 24487–24504, doi:10.1029/98JB00902., , , , and (
- Issue published online: 20 SEP 2012
- Article first published online: 20 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 3 MAR 1998
- Manuscript Received: 31 JUL 1997
During the past 1000 years, eruptions of Vesuvius have often been accompanied by large earthquakes in the Apennines 50–60 km to the northeast. Statistical investigations had shown that earthquakes often preceded eruptions, typically by less than a decade, but did not provide a physical explanation for the correlation. Here, we explore elastic stress interaction between earthquakes and eruptions under the hypothesis that small stress changes can promote events when the Apennine normal faults and the Vesuvius magma body are close to failure. We show that earthquakes can promote eruptions by compressing the magma body at depth and opening suitably oriented near-surface conduits. Voiding the magma body in turns brings these same normal faults closer to Coulomb failure, promoting earthquakes. Such a coupling is strongest if the magma reservoir is a dike oriented normal to the regional extension axis, parallel to the Apennines, and the near-surface conduits and fissures are oriented normal to the Apennines. This preferred orientation suggests that the eruptions issuing from such fissures should be most closely linked in time to Apennine earthquakes. Large Apennine earthquakes since 1400 are calculated to have transferred more stress to Vesuvius than all but the largest eruptions have transferred to Apennine faults, which may explain why earthquakes more commonly lead than follow eruptions. A two-way coupling may thus link earthquakes and Vesuvius eruptions along a 100-km-long set of faults. We test the statistical significance of the earthquake-eruption correlation in the two-way coupling zone, and find a correlation significant at the 95% confidence level.