A Subsurface Geologic Feature Inferred from Relocation of Local Earthquakes in Al-Refaei District, Southern Iraq

Authors

  • Ali Ramthan Department of Geology, College of Science, University of Basrah, Basrah, Iraq
  • Wathiq Abdulnaby Department of Geology, College of Science, University of Basrah, Basrah, Iraq
  • Najah Abd Department of Geology, College of Science, University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq
  • Hanan Mahdi University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Arkansas, USA
  • Haydar Al-Shukri University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Arkansas, USA

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.46717/igj.54.1A.4Ms-2021-01-25

Keywords:

Relocation, Seismic array, Local earthquakes, Linear feature, Al-Refaei

Abstract

For the last two decades, the District of Al-Refaei, southern Iraq, experienced several small to moderate size earthquakes that seem to be clustered in a relatively small area. The initial locations of these earthquakes from the available local and international bulletins show scattered events without any clear structural patterns. A seven-elements seismic array was installed for the period 2014 to 2018 to monitor this activity. Each element of the array consists of three-component Geospace GS11d high-frequency (4.5 Hz) geophone, a solar system power source, and telemetry communications system to transmit data to a central recording station. During the period of monitoring, the array recorded more than 56 earthquakes having a range of magnitude between 1.5 ML to 4.7 mb. Large number of the low magnitude earthquakes were not detected by other monitoring agencies; however, they were recorded by the array.  Fifty-six of the most clearly recorded earthquakes were screened for relocation and analysis. Out of the 56 screened earthquakes, 35 were detected by the array alone. The majority of the selected earthquakes having their initial locations within the array. This improves the relocation process and increase accuracy. The relocated earthquakes express a clear pattern of a linear feature which strikes in the northwest-southeast direction. The direction of the newly inferred pattern coincides with the general tectonic setting of Iraq as it is parallel to Zagros suture zone and the general stress regime of the Arabian Plate. The depth of the relocated earthquakes ranges from about 3.9km to 8.9km. This indicates that these earthquakes occur along a shallow subsurface fault that was not mapped before.

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Published

2021-01-28

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