Articles | Volume 12, issue 4
Research article
16 Apr 2012
Research article |  | 16 Apr 2012

Quasi-synchronous multi-parameter anomalies associated with the 2010–2011 New Zealand earthquake sequence

K. Qin, L. X. Wu, A. De Santis, J. Meng, W. Y. Ma, and G. Cianchini

Abstract. Positive thermal anomalies about one month before the 3 September 2010 Mw = 7.1 New Zealand earthquake and "coincidental" quasi-synchronous fluctuations of GPS displacement were reported. Whether there were similar phenomena associated with the aftershocks? To answer it, the following was investigated: multiple parameters including surface and near-surface air temperature, surface latent heat flux, GPS displacement and soil moisture, using a long-term statistical analysis method. We found that local thermal and deformation anomalies appeared quasi-synchronously in three particular tectonic zones, not only about one month before the mainshock, but also tens of days before the 21 February 2011 Mw = 6.3 aftershock, and that the time series of soil moisture on the epicenter pixel had obvious peaks on most of the anomalous days. Based on local tectonic geology, hydrology and meteorology, the particular lithosphere-coversphere-atmosphere coupling mode is interpreted and four mechanisms (magmatic-hydrothermal fluids upwelling, soil moisture increasing, underground pore gases leaking, and positive holes activating and recombining) are discussed.