Coincident locations of rupture nucleation during the 2019 Le Teil earthquake, France and maximum stress change from local cement quarrying

Vincenzo De Novellis, Vincenzo Convertito, Sotiris Valkaniotis, Francesco Casu, Riccardo Lanari, Mario Fernando Monterroso Tobar, Nicola Alessandro Pino
2020 Communications Earth & Environment  
Earthquake occurrence is ultimately controlled by tectonic stress load. Nevertheless, the 2019, Mw = 4.9, Le Teil earthquake in southern France occurred in an area where strain rates are relatively low. Human operations can produce increases in stress load and degradation of strength on nearby active faults, which raises the potential for failure. Here we present estimates of the rupture geometry and source directivity of the Le Teil earthquake based on differential synthetic aperture radar
more » ... aperture radar interferometry and seismic data. We find that almost two centuries of mass removal at a nearby cement quarry likely provided the required stress change to either induce the Le Teil earthquake, or hasten its occurrence by more than 100,000 years. We suggest that further mass removal in the area might lead to even stronger earthquakes, by activating deeper sectors of the same fault plane.
doi:10.1038/s43247-020-00021-6 fatcat:ncmrll33k5ecdoqoekvrxiy3c4