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J Environ Radioact. 2012 Nov;113:131-41. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2012.05.027. Epub 2012 Jun 20.

In-soil radon anomalies as precursors of earthquakes: a case study in the SE slope of Mt. Etna in a period of quite stable weather conditions.

Author information

1
Dipartimento di Fisica (Di.Fi.), Università degli Studi di Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, Edificio 18, 90128 Palermo, Italy. vizzinifabio@gmail.com

Abstract

In-soil radon concentrations as well as climatic parameters (temperature, atmospheric pressure and relative humidity) were collected in St. Venerina (Eastern Sicily - Italy) from March 19th to May 22nd 2009, close to an active fault system called Timpe Fault System (TFS), which is strictly linked to the geodynamics of Mt. Etna. During the monitoring period no drastic climatic variations were observed and, on the other hand, important seismic events were recorded close to the monitoring site. A seismic swarm composed of 5 earthquakes was observed in the Milo area on March 25th (M(max) = 2.7) at just 5.1 km from the site, and on May 13th an earthquake of 3.6 magnitude was recorded in the territory of St. Venerina, at just 3.2 km from the site; the earthquake was felt by the population and reported by all local and regional media. The in-soil radon concentrations have shown anomalous increases possibly linked to the earthquakes recorded, but certainly not attributable to local meteorology. To verify this assumption the average radon concentration and the standard deviation (σ) have been calculated and the regions of ±1.5σ and ±2σ deviation from the average concentration have been investigated. Moreover, to further minimise the contribution of the meteorological parameters on the in-soil radon fluctuations, a multiple regressions method has been used. To distinguish those earthquakes which could generate in-soil radon anomalies as precursors, the Dobrovolsky radius has been applied. The results obtained suggests that a clear correlation between earthquakes and in-soil radon increases exist, and that the detection of the in-soil radon anomalies becomes surely simpler in particular favourable conditions: weather stability, earthquakes within the Dobrovolsky radius and close to the monitoring area. Moreover, the absence of large variations of the climatic parameters, which could generate incoherent noise components to the radon signal, has made the radon fluctuations more evident and so more legible.

PMID:
22728638
DOI:
10.1016/j.jenvrad.2012.05.027
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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