Rrapo Ormeni, Albana Hasimi, Serkan Öztürk, Ervin Çomo

Correlations between seismic b-value and heat flow density in Vlora-Lushnja-Elbasani-Dibra Fault Zone in Elbasani area, central Albania

Abstract In this study, the correlations between the heat flow density and seismotectonic b-value in the Elbasani area of Albania were investigated to understand the how low-velocity layers underneath the Elbasani area in central Albania struggling the large-scale Vlora-Lushnja-Elbasani-Dibra Fault Zone affect the heat flow data. For this purpose, the heat flow and regional distribution of b-value were imaged for different locations and depths. To achieve the analysis, the Albanian Seismological Catalogue for the period between 1 July 1968 and 26 December 2022, including 1830 earthquakes with a local magnitude of 0.5 ≤ Ml ≤ 5.2 that occurred at the depths below 70 kilometres, was considered. The b-value was calculated as 1.03 ± 0.06 by considering the magnitude of the completeness value as Mc-value = 2.6. This result shows that the b-value of earthquake distribution in the Vlora-Lushnja-Elbasani-Dibra (VLED) fault zone is well represented by the Gutenberg and Richter (G-R) scaling law with the b-value close to 1.0. The regional variations of the b-value show that b-values smaller than 0.9 were observed in the western and south-western parts of the Llinxha-Kozan thermal water belt. The depth distribution of the b-value indicates that there exists a sharp decrease in the b-values from 1.15 to 0.7 in the depths varying from 5 to 20 km. The highest heat flow values were observed on the Dumrea diapiric dome and in the central part of the Elbasani area. Thus, our analysis indicates significant and robust correlations between the geothermal and earthquake distribution. The discontinuity of Moho interface is deep in the regions where high b-values were observed. Low b-values are found at the depths ranging from 20–25 km and 35–40 km in the Dumrea evaporite massif area. We have evidence that high b-values and large heat flow values are related to the low seismic velocity layers underneath the Elbasani area. The low-velocity zone (LVZ) in Albania occurs in the Earth’s crust and in the upper mantle. It is characterized by an unusually low seismic shear wave velocity compared to the surrounding depth intervals. It is well known that the low-velocity layers in the Elbasani area are determined in the upper crust, at shallow depths of 2–4 km, and in the middle crust at a 10–14 km depth. Hence, it is suggested that the Moho interface in the eastern part of the Elbasani area is relatively deep (45 km) compared to the western part of Albania (35 km), and the magnitude of earthquakes is smaller where the high heat flow values were observed.

Doi https://doi.org/10.5200/baltica.2023.2.7

Keywords VLED fault zone; geothermal; earthquakes; Moho; low-velocity zone; tectonics; b-value

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