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Merging Active and Passive Data Sets in Travel-Time Tomography: The Case Study of Campi Flegrei Caldera (Southern Italy)

Special issue of Geophysical Prospecting, 56, 555–573, 2008, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2478.2007.00687.x
J. Battaglia, A. Zollo, J. Virieux and D. Dello Iacono


 We propose a strategy for merging both active and passive data sets in linearized tomographic inversion. We illustrate this in the reconstruction of 3D images of a complex volcanic structure, the Campi Flegrei caldera, located in the vicinity of the city of Naples, southern Italy. The caldera is occasionally the site of significant unrests characterized by large ground uplifts and seismicity. The P and S velocity models of the caldera structure are obtained by a tomographic inversion based on travel times recorded during two distinct experiments. The first data set is composed of 606 earthquakes recorded in 1984 and the second set is composed of recordings for 1528 shots produced during the SERAPIS experiment in 2001. The tomographic inversion is performed using an improved method based on an accurate finite-difference traveltime computation and a simultaneous inversion of both velocity models and earthquake locations. In order to determine the adequate inversion parameters and relative data weighting factors, we perform massive synthetic simulations allowing one to merge the two types of data optimally. The proper merging provides high resolution velocity models, which allow one to reliably retrieve velocity anomalies over a large part of the tomography area. The obtained images confirm the presence of a high P velocity ring in the southern part of the bay of Pozzuoli and extends its trace inland as compared to previous results. This annular anomaly represents the buried trace of the rim of the Campi Flegrei caldera. Its shape at 1.5 km depth is in good agreement with the location of hydrothermalized lava inferred by gravimetric data modelling. The Vp/Vs model confirms the presence of two characteristic features. At about 1 km depth a very high Vp/Vs anomaly is observed below the town of Pozzuoli and is interpreted as due to the presence of rocks that contain fluids in the liquid phase. A low Vp/Vs body extending at about 3–4 km depth below a large part of the caldera is interpreted as the top of formations that are enriched in gas under supercritical conditions.

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*Notice: This is an electronic version of an article published in Geophysical Prospecting: complete citation information for the final version of the paper, as published in the print edition of Geophysical Prospecting, is available on the Wiley-Blackwell online delivery service, accessible via the journal's website at

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