Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Lusi mud eruption triggered by geometric focusing of seismic waves

A Corrigendum to this article was published on 28 August 2014

This article has been updated

Abstract

The Lusi mud eruption in Java, Indonesia, began in May 2006 and is ongoing. Two different triggers have been proposed. The eruption could have been triggered by drilling at a gas-exploration well, as evidenced by pressure variations typical of an internal blowout1,2. Alternatively, fault slip associated with the M6.3 Yogyakarta earthquake two days before the eruption could have mobilized the mud3, as suggested by mixing of shallow and deeply derived fluids in the exhaling mud3,4 and mud-vent alignment along a tectonic fault. Here we use numerical wave propagation experiments to show that a high-impedance and parabolic-shaped, high-velocity layer in the rock surrounding the site of the Lusi eruption could have reflected, amplified and focussed incoming seismic energy from the Yogyakarta earthquake. Our simulations show that energy concentrations in the mud layer would have been sufficient to liquefy the mud source, allowing fluidized mud and exsolved CO2 to be injected into and reactivate the Watukosek Fault. This fault connects hydraulically to a deep hydrothermal system that continues to feed the eruption. We conclude that the Lusi mud eruption was a natural occurrence. We also suggest that parabolic lithologies with varying acoustic impedance can focus and amplify incoming seismic energy and trigger a response in volcanic and hydrothermal systems that would have otherwise been unperturbed.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Map of Java with relevant distances from the Yogyakarta earthquake.
Figure 2: Geometry, Vp variations with depth and model of Lusi used in the numerical study.
Figure 3: Results of the numerical study.
Figure 4: Conceptual stress path and proposed scenario for triggering the Lusi mud eruption.

Change history

  • 28 August 2014

    Nature Geoscience 6, 642–646 (2013); published online 21 July 2013; corrected after print 28 August 2014. In our 2013 article1, we adopted a published velocity profile2 described as check-shot data, which we used as an input constraint for our numerical simulations. We were subsequently alerted to artefacts in that velocity profile, so below we present revised simulation results, based on additional data.

References

  1. 1

    Davies, R. J. et al. The East Java mud volcano (2006 to present): An earthquake or drilling trigger? Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 272, 627–638 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Tingay, M., Heidbach, O., Davies, R. & Swarbrick, R. Triggering of the Lusi mud eruption: Earthquake versus drilling initiation. Geology 36, 639–642 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Mazzini, A. et al. Strike-slip faulting as a trigger mechanism for overpressure release through piercement structures. Implications for the Lusi mud volcano, Indonesia. Mar. Petrol. Geol. 26, 1751–1765 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Mazzini, A., Etiope, G. & Svensen, H. A new hydrothermal scenario for the 2006 Lusi eruption, Indonesia. Insights from gas geochemistry. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 317, 305–318 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Manga, M., Brumm, M. & Rudolph, M. L. Earthquake triggering of mud volcanoes. Mar. Petrol. Geol. 26, 1785–1798 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Tanikawa, W., Sakaguchi, M., Wibowo, H. T., Shimamoto, T. & Tadai, O. Fluid transport properties and estimation of overpressure at the Lusi mud volcano, East Java Basin. Eng. Geol. 116, 73–85 (2010).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Manga, M. & Brodsky, E. Seismic triggering of eruptions in the far field: Volcanoes and geysers. Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci. 34, 263–291 (2006).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Sawolo, N., Sutriono, E., Istadi, B. P. & Darmoyo, A. B. The Lusi mud volcano triggering controversy: Was it caused by drilling? Mar. Petrol. Geol. 26, 1766–1784 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Harris, A. J. L. & Ripepe, M. Regional earthquake as a trigger for enhanced volcanic activity: Evidence from MODIS thermal data. Geophys. Res. Lett. 34, L02304 (2007).

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Istadi, B. P., Pramono, G. H., Sumintadireja, P. & Alam, S. Modeling study of growth and potential geohazard for Lusi mud volcano: East Java, Indonesia. Mar. Petrol. Geol. 26, 1724–1739 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Saenger, E. H. & Bohlen, T. Finite-difference modeling of viscoelastic and anisotropic wave propagation using the rotated staggered grid. Geophysics 69, 583–591 (2004).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Saenger, E. H., Gold, N. & Shapiro, S. A. Modeling the propagation of elastic waves using a modified finite-difference grid. Wave Motion 31, 77–92 (2000).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Kulhanek, O. International Handbook of Earthquake Engineering Seismology (Academic, 2002).

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Saenger, E. H. Time reverse characterization of sources in heterogeneous media. NDT&E Int. 44, 751–759 (2011).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Rudolph, M. L. & Manga, M. Frequency dependence of mud volcano response to earthquakes. Geophys. Res. Lett. 39, L14303 (2012).

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Yassir, N. Mud Volcanoes and the Behaviour of Overpressured Clays and Silts PhD thesis, Univ. London (1989).

  17. 17

    Stewart, H. E. & Hussein, A. K. The Loma Prieta, California, Earthquake of October 17, 1989—Marina District (ed. O’Rourke, T. D.) 75–84 (US Geol. Surv. Profess. Pap. 1551-F, 1992).

  18. 18

    Wang, C. Y. Liquefaction beyond the near field. Seismol. Res. Lett. 78, 512–517 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19

    Mazzini, A. et al. Triggering and dynamic evolution of the Lusi mud volcano, Indonesia. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 261, 375–388 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20

    Tsukamoto, Y., Ishihara, K. & Harada, K. Evalutation of undrained shear strength of soils from field penetration tests. Soils Found. 49, 11–23 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21

    Ishihara, K., Tatsuoka, F. & Yasuda, S. Undrained deformation and liquefaction of sand under cyclic stresses. Soils Found. 15, 29–44 (1975).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22

    Paulatto, M. et al. Upper crustal structure of an active volcano from refraction/reflection tomography, Montserrat, Lesser Antilles. Geophys. J. Int. 180, 685–696 (2010).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. 23

    Davis, P. M., Rubinstein, J. L., Lui, K. H., Gao, S. S. & Knoppoff, L. Northridge earthquake damage caused by geologic focusing of seismic waves. Science 289, 1746–1750 (2000).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24

    Sturtevant, B., Kanamori, H. & Brodsky, E. E. Seismic triggering by rectified diffusion in geothermal systems. J. Geophys. Res. 101, 25269–25282 (1996).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25

    Pollitz, F. F., Stein, R., Volkan, S. & Burgmann, R. The 11 April 2012 east Indian Ocean earthquake triggered large aftershocks worldwide. Nature 490, 250–253 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26

    Nakano, M. et al. Source estimates of the May 2006 Java earthquake. Eos 87, 493–494 (2006).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This work was financially supported by a grant from the Humanitus Sidoarjo fund. Discussions with A. Mazzini, S. Pudasaini and N. Wolyniec are appreciated and we thank B. Galvan for discretizing the model domain. We thank J. Cartwright and D. Koehn for comments.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

M.L. conducted the study, collected the data and constructed the geological model; E.H.S. conducted the numerical studies; F.F. conducted the seismological analysis; S.A.M. designed and coordinated the study and jointly wrote the manuscript with M.L. All authors contributed equally to the content.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to S. A. Miller.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Information (PDF 950 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Lupi, M., Saenger, E., Fuchs, F. et al. Lusi mud eruption triggered by geometric focusing of seismic waves. Nature Geosci 6, 642–646 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo1884

Download citation

Further reading

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing