Articles | Volume 6, issue 6
03 Nov 2006
03 Nov 2006

Crustal deformation and AE monitoring: annual variation and stress-soliton propagation

M. Poscolieri, G. P. Gregori, G. Paparo, and A. Zanini

Abstract. The stress propagation through the crust can be effectively monitored by means of acoustic mission (AE) techniques (ultrasounds). The \textit{AE} intensity is indicative of the amount of stress that affects some lithospheric and/or crustal slab of some (ultimately unknown) scale size. In principle, such scale size can be different in different areas, as it depends on their respective tectonic setting, by which a variety of prime causes ought to be considered: every cause can eventually prevail over others. Two basic phenomena are here reported. If the crust behaves like a comparatively ideal elastic body, an annual variation is observed, which appears in-phase and correlated, when comparing AE records collected at the Italian site and on the Cephallonia Island. It seems being astronomically modulated, hence it should display a planetary scale. One likely explanation is in terms of the loading tide. Such interpretation can be confirmed by some additional modelling and analysis upon considering the motion of the Sun and of the Moon. A second observed effect refers to the case in which the crust feels the effect of the fatigue that reduces its elastic performance. The phenomenon can be described in terms of stress solitons that cross the area being monitored. They can be unambiguously recognised, and the possibility is therefore envisaged of eventually using them for measuring the propagation speed of stress through the crust over continental or planetary scales. The residuals, with respect to such regularly recognisable effects, of the recorded AE signals are to be investigated in a few subsequent analyses (in progress), as they appear to contain additional relevant physical information, still being much different from any simple random noise. A final recommendation ought therefore to be stressed, for setting up some array of at least a few AE recording stations to be simultaneously operated over some continental scale area and for a few years at least. Their potential applications still appear much promising and to be still focused in their complete, specific, operative and physical details and interpretation.