Short-term volcano-tectonic earthquake forecasts based on a moving mean recurrence time algorithm: the El Hierro seismo-volcanic crisis experience
- 1Institute IGEO, CSIC-UCM, J. Gutierrez Abascal, 2, Madrid 28006, Spain
- 2Instituto de Geofísica, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, C. Universitaria, México D.F. 04510, México
- 3CUEIV, Universidad de Colima, Colima 28045, México
- 4Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Ladrón de Guevara, P.O. Box 1701-2759, Quito, Ecuador
- 5Unidad de Gestión, Investigación y Desarrollo, Instituto Geográfico Militar, El Dorado, 170413, Quito, Ecuador
Abstract. Under certain conditions, volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes may pose significant hazards to people living in or near active volcanic regions, especially on volcanic islands; however, hazard arising from VT activity caused by localized volcanic sources is rarely addressed in the literature. The evolution of VT earthquakes resulting from a magmatic intrusion shows some orderly behaviour that may allow the occurrence and magnitude of major events to be forecast. Thus governmental decision makers can be supplied with warnings of the increased probability of larger-magnitude earthquakes on the short-term timescale. We present here a methodology for forecasting the occurrence of large-magnitude VT events during volcanic crises; it is based on a mean recurrence time (MRT) algorithm that translates the Gutenberg-Richter distribution parameter fluctuations into time windows of increased probability of a major VT earthquake. The MRT forecasting algorithm was developed after observing a repetitive pattern in the seismic swarm episodes occurring between July and November 2011 at El Hierro (Canary Islands). From then on, this methodology has been applied to the consecutive seismic crises registered at El Hierro, achieving a high success rate in the real-time forecasting, within 10-day time windows, of volcano-tectonic earthquakes.