Evaluation of the statistical and spatial correlation between seismicity parameters and Bouguer anomaly in Iran

Article Type:
Research/Original Article (دارای رتبه معتبر)
In this research, the spatial correlation between the variables representing Bouguer gravity anomaly and seismicity in Iran is evaluated. For this purpose, the gravity anomalies and seismicity data of this region have been analyzed statistically as well as geostatistically, for the period 1975-2021. Based on the findings of this study, it can be concluded that the significant correlation observed between the variables of gravity anomaly variations and the seismicity-related variables, especially the variables related to the frequency of earthquake occurrences, suggests that the gravity anomaly variations can be considered as an affective factor in seismic activity of this region.The Iranian Plateau is one of the most seismically active regions on the Earth because of its geologic and tectonic setting. This plateau is marked by high topography relief and also by great changes in gravitational and isostatic anomalies across it. Many researchers have studied the variations of gravitational anomalies across Iran, and some have pointed to the relationships between these anomalies and seismicity in this region. The Bouguer gravity anomaly is obtained by making the necessary corrections to measurements taken directly from the ground stations, and well reflects the deep density variations in the crust. This anomaly can also clearly show changes in crustal thickness in different regions, such that areas with high crustal thicknesses show negative anomalies and areas with low crustal thicknesses show positive anomalies.In this study, at first, the study region was divided into rectangles with dimensions of 0.5 by 0.5 geographical degrees and then the variables related to the seismicity and gravity anomalies were calculated and computed for each cell. Pearson correlation coefficients between these variables were computed and validated using statistical software Minitab (ver. 16.2.2). Also, maps representing the spatial distribution pattern of these variables were prepared. The remarkable similarity between the spatial patterns of variations of these variables indicates a strong correlation between the Bouguer gravity anomaly and seismicity in this region. The Pearson correlation coefficient values calculated between the variables also confirm this correlation. These values indicate that both variables of average Bouguer anomaly and the range of variations of this anomaly show a significant positive correlation with the seismicity-related variables. This degree of correlation is stronger for the variable of the Bouguer anomaly variation and moreover, this variable is more correlated with the seismicity variables associated with the frequency of earthquakes. In the next step, variograms were prepared.     The results obtained show that among the seismicity-related variables of the region, the b seismicity parameter (from the Gutenberg-Richter relation) has more spatial variability and show high spatial autocorrelation up to long distances. On the other hand, the other variables related to earthquake frequency and magnitude of earthquakes show less spatial autocorrelation. The variograms provided for the two variables representing the bouguer anomaly also show remarkable similarity to the seismicity-related diagrams. This similarity is more pronounced for the variable of the Bouguer anomaly variation. The remarkable similarities of the variograms, along with the similarities of the spatial distribution maps of these variables, may indicate a close relationship between these two series of variables. Finally, it can be concluded that gravitational forces, especially forces caused by isostatic imbalances, can play an important role in the process of earthquake occurrences in Iran.
Iranian Journal of Geophysics, Volume:18 Issue: 1, 2024
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