Multi-parametric investigation of the volcano-hydrothermal system at Tatun Volcano Group, Northern Taiwan
- 1Dept. of Earth Sciences, National Central University, 300 Jhongda Rd, Jhongli, 320, Taiwan
- 2Institute of Earth Sciences, Academia Sinica, P.O. Box 1–55, Taipei, 115, Taiwan
Abstract. The Tatun Volcano Group (TVG) is located in northern Taiwan near the capital Taipei. In this study we selected and analyzed almost four years (2004–2007) of its seismic activity. The seismic network established around TVG initially consisted of eight three-component seismic stations with this number increasing to twelve by 2007. Local seismicity mainly involved high frequency (HF) earthquakes occurring as isolated events or as part of spasmodic bursts. Mixed and low frequency (LF) events were observed during the same period but more rarely. During the analysis we estimated duration magnitudes for the HF earthquakes and used a probabilistic non-linear method to accurately locate all these events. The complex frequencies of LF events were also analyzed with the Sompi method indicating fluid compositions consistent with a misty or dusty gas. We juxtaposed these results with geochemical/temperature anomalies extracted from fumarole gas and rainfall levels covering a similar period. This comparison is interpreted in the context of a model proposed earlier for the volcano-hydrothermal system of TVG where fluids and magmatic gases ascend from a magma body that lies at around 7–8 km depth. Most HF earthquakes occur as a response to stresses induced by fluid circulation within a dense network of cracks pervading the upper crust at TVG. The largest (ML ~ 3.1) HF event that occurred on 24 April 2006 at a depth of 5–6 km had source characteristics compatible with that of a tensile crack. It was followed by an enrichment in magmatic components of the fumarole gases as well as a fumarole temperature increase, and provides evidence for ascending fluids from a magma body into the shallow hydrothermal system. This detailed analysis and previous physical volcanology observations at TVG suggest that the region is volcanically active and that measures to mitigate potential hazards have to be considered by the local authorities.