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petrology, statistical analysis, structural geology, volcanic seismology

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Dike swarms are the fossil remains of regions of the crust that have undergone repeated magma injections. Volcanic earthquake swarms and geodetic measurements are, at least in part, a record of active injection of fluids (water, gas, or magma) into fractures. Here, we link these two ways of observing magmatic systems by noting that dike thicknesses and earthquake magnitudes share similar scaling parameters. In the Jurassic Independence dike swarm of eastern California median dike thickness is ∼1 m, similar to other swarms worldwide, but glacially polished exposures reveal that a typical dike comprises a number of dikelets that are lognormally distributed in thickness with a mean of ∼0.1 m. Assuming that dikes fill penny-shaped cracks of a given aspect ratio, the geodetic moment and earthquake magnitude of a diking event can be estimated. A Monte Carlo simulation of dike-induced earthquakes based on observed dike thickness variations yields a frequency-magnitude distribution remarkably like observed volcanic earthquake swarms, with a b-value of ∼1.7. We suggest that swarms of dikes composed of dikelets, as well as plutons built incrementally by sheet intrusions, are physical complements to volcanic seismic swarms, and that at least some earthquake swarms are a palpable expression of incremental magma emplacement.

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Journal of Geophysical Solid Earth, v. 126, issue 12, art. e2020JB021631

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