Abstract

I present a reinvestigation of the seismic activity during an 11-mo-long seismic swarm between 1989 and 1990 beneath Mammoth Mountain in eastern California (United States). This swarm, believed to be the result of a shallow intrusion of magma beneath Mammoth Mountain, was followed by the emission of magmatic CO2 gas, resulting in tree die-off in 1990 and posing a significant human health risk around Mammoth Mountain. In this study, I apply a state-of-the-art approach to estimate the ratio of compressional- to shear-wave velocity (Vp/Vs) within similar event clusters using differential times from waveform cross-correlation. A high-resolution three-dimensional seismic velocity model and a precise earthquake location catalog are obtained to complement the analysis of the in situ Vp/Vs ratios. The majority of the relocated seismicity below sea level is distributed in an anomalous body with low Vp and high Vp/Vs, consistent with the seismic expression of the magma body that triggered the seismic swarm. Abrupt changes in Vp/Vs ratios, with lower values for the shallow depths, are observed near sea level, indicating the source of the 1989 CO2 flux is a shallow CO2 reservoir instead of the hypothesized basaltic magma at mid-crustal depths of 10-25 km. From sea level to the surface, low Vp/Vs ratios in a near-vertical zone suggest involvement of fluid in the upward-migration of the seismicity.

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