Spring water anomalies before two consecutive earthquakes (Mw 7.7 and Mw 7.6) 2 in Kahramanmaraş (Türkiye) on 6 February 2023

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İnan S., Çetin H., Yakupoğlu N.

Natural Hazards and Earth Systems Science, vol.23, no.12, pp.1-27, 2023 (SCI-Expanded)


Understanding earthquake phenomena is always challenging. Search for reliable precursors of earthquakes are important but requires systematic and long-time monitoring employing multi-disciplinary techniques. In search of possible precursors, we obtained commercially bottled spring waters dated before and after the earthquakes of 6 February 2023. Hydrogeochemical precursors have been detected in commercially bottled natural spring waters (Ayran Spring and Bahçepınar Spring) which are at a distance of about 100 km and 175 km from the epicenters of the Mw 7.7 and Mw 7.6 Kahramanmaraş (Türkiye) Earthquakes of 6 February 2023, respectively. The available water samples cover the period from March 2022 to March 2023. The pre-earthquake anomaly is characterized by an increase in electrical conductivity and major ions (Ca2+, Mg2+, K+, Na+, Cl, and SO42-) compared to the background for Ayran Spring water samples. The pre-earthquake anomaly lasted for at least six months.  The anomaly in major ions sharply declined and the ion content approached the background values about two weeks after the earthquakes. Although only 6.5 kilometers away from the Ayran Spring, the bottled water samples of the Bahçepınar Spring did not show any anomalies in electrical conductivity; therefore, the samples were not analyzed for ion content. Bahçepınar water is collected from shallow boreholes dug into alluvial deposits which we believe are decoupled from the basement rocks and this may be the reason for the lack of abnormal water chemistry prior to the earthquakes. This attests to the fact that sampling locations are very important in the detection of possible earthquake precursors. Results on the Ayran spring water samples indicate that spring water chemical anomalies of discrete samples may provide valuable information on pre-earthquake crustal deformation. Monitoring of spring waters, along with other monitoring techniques in a multidisciplinary network, and for a sufficiently long time, could potentially enable obtaining reliable proxy indicators of pre-earthquake crustal deformation.