We estimated the attenuation laws of high-frequency seismic waves in the shallow crust (depth ≤5 km) and earthquake source parameters by using a selected data set of 320 shallow events (2.6 ≤ MD ≤ 4.2), recorded at Mt. Etna volcano during the last two flank eruptions occurring in 2001 and 2002–2003. The quality factor (Q) was estimated from spectra of P and S waves for 24 stations of the local permanent network by applying a spectral ratio technique. The results show variations in both QP and QS as a function of frequency, according to the power law Q = Q0fn, with n ranging between 0.3 and 1.3 for P waves and between 0.2 and 0.9 for S waves. As typical of volcanic environments, strong azimuthal variations of QP were also found, suggesting the presence of local strong lateral heterogeneities and/or of fluid-filled cracked volumes. After correction for attenuation, we estimated the source parameters (seismic moment, source radius, and stress drop) of a subset of 66 shallow events, under the assumption of a circular dislocation. The estimated seismic moments M0 range from 1013 to 1015 N m. The source radii (r) are confined between 100 and 1000 m and stress drop (Δσ) ranges between 0.2 MPa and about 4 MPa. Combining the source parameters obtained in this study with those calculated by Patanè et al. (1997) for an old data set of smaller microearthquakes (109M0 ≤ 1014 N m) recorded in the same area, we re-evaluated the scaling relationship between seismic moment (M0) and corner frequency (fc) for the earthquakes with M0 ranging between 1013 and 1015 N m. We confirm that microearthquakes at Mt. Etna seem not to obey a graphic scaling relationship, as generally observed for moderate to large earthquakes, as the slope of the scale dependence is about 4.3 or higher. Assuming that this dependence is real, within the uncertainty in the results, a departure from the self-similarity exists for the volcanotectonic earthquakes at Mt. Etna.

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