Seismic attenuation imaging of Campi Flegrei: Evidence of gas reservoirs, hydrothermal basins, and feeding systems

L De Siena, E Del Pezzo, F Bianco

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Passive high-resolution attenuation tomography is used here to image the geological structure in the first upper 4 km of the shallow crust beneath the Campi Flegrei caldera, southern Italy. The inverse Q was estimated for each source-receiver path using the coda-normalization method (S-waves) and the slope decay method (P-waves and S-waves). Inversion was performed using a multi-resolution method, which ensures a minimum cell-size resolution of 500 m. The study of the resolution matrix as well as the synthetic tests guarantee an optimal reproduction of the input anomalies in the center of the caldera, between 0 and 3.5 km in depth. High attenuation vertical structures are connected at the surface with the main volcanological features (e. g., the Solfatara and Mofete fumarole fields), and depict vertical Q contrast imaging important geological structures, such as the La Starza fault. These high attenuation volumes extend between the surface and a depth of about 3 km, where a hard rock layer is imaged by the sharp contrast of the quality factors. The retrieved image of the Campi Flegrei has been jointly interpreted taking into account evidence from seismological, geological, volcanological and geochemical investigations. This analysis has allowed an unprecedented view of the feeding systems in this area, and in particular it recognizes the vertically extending, high attenuation structures that correspond to gas or fluid reservoirs beneath Pozzuoli-Solfatara, Solfatara, Mofete-Mt. Nuovo and Agnano. This high-attenuation system is possibly connected with the magma sill revealed at about 7 km in depth by passive travel-time tomography.

Original languageEnglish
Article number09312
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue numberB9
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2010


  • wave velocity structure
  • 3-dimensional P
  • Campi Flegrei
  • volcanic area
  • attenuation
  • passive data
  • calderas
  • tomography
  • fluid
  • inversion


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