Articles | Volume 5, issue 2
Research article
27 Aug 2014
Research article |  | 27 Aug 2014

Evidence of magma activation beneath the Harrat Lunayyir basaltic field (Saudi Arabia) from attenuation tomography

I. Koulakov, S. El Khrepy, N. Al-Arifi, I. Sychev, and P. Kuznetsov

Abstract. We present a seismic attenuation model for the crust beneath the Cenozoic basaltic field of Harrat Lunayyir (western Saudi Arabia), where a strong seismic swarm occurred in 2009. The tomography inversion uses the envelope shape of the S wave seismograms from over 300 strong events (M < 3.5). The resulting attenuation structures appear to be consistent with the distribution of seismic velocities. The obtained 3-D attenuation model distinguishes the low-attenuation zones down to 5 km depth corresponding to the rigid basaltic cover. At greater depths, we detect a high-attenuation anomaly coinciding with the main seismicity cluster. We propose that this zone corresponds to the upper part of the conduit area ascending from deeper magma sources. According to the distributions of local events, fluids and melts from this conduit appear to reach a depth of ∼2 km, but were not able to reach the surface and cause the eruption in 2009.