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Instituto de Investigação
em Vulcanologia e Avaliação de Riscos
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Referência Bibliográfica

DIAS, N., MATIAS, L., TÉLLEZ, J., SENOS, M.L., GASPAR, J.L. (2003) - Shear-wave polarization studies of the July 9th 1998 Faial (Azores) seismic swarm. EGS-AGU-EUG Joint Assembly. France, Nice, 6 - 11 de Abril (Poster).


The Azores Islands, located at a tectonic triple Junction, geodynamically are a highly active place.  The seismicity in this region occurs mainly in the form of two types of seismic swarms with tectonic and/or volcanic origins, lasting from hours to years. In some cases the swarm follows a main stronger shock, while in others the more energetic event occurs sometime after the beginning of the swarm. In order to understand the complex phenomena of this region, a multidisciplinary approach is needed, involving geophysical, geological and geochemical studies such as the one being carried under the MASHA project (POCTI/CTA/39158/2001).
On July 9th 1998 an Mw=6.2 earthquake stroked the island of Faial, in the central group of the Azores archipelago, followed by a seismic swarm still active today. We will present some preliminary results of the shear-wave polarization analysis of a selected dataset of events of this swarm. These correspond to the 112 best-constrained events, record during the first 2 weeks by the seismic network deployed on the 3 islands surrounding the area of the main shock. The objective was to analyse the behaviour of the S wave polarization and the eventual relationship with the presence of seismic anisotropy under the seismic stations, and to correlate this with the regional structure and origin of the Azores plateau. Two main tectonic features are observable on the islands, one primarily orientated SE-NW and the other crossing it roughly with the WNW-ESE direction. The polarization direction observed in the majority of the seismic stations is not stable, varying from SE-NW to WSW-ENE, and showing also the presence in same cases of shear-wave splitting, indicating the presence of anisotropy. Part of the polarization seems to be coherent with the direction of the local tectonic features, but its instability suggest a more complex seismic anisotropy than that proposed by the model EDA of Crampin. Furthermore, the dataset revealed some limitations to be corrected, such us: the poor azimuthal coverage, the focal mechanism of some events unknown, and the presence of a seismic phase precursor to the shear-wave marked as an S-wave and affecting the polarization interpretation.