Recent seismicity on the Kerguelen islands

Kerguelen seismicity


  • Olivier Lengliné Université de Strasbourg/CNRS, Institut Terre et Environnement de Strasbourg, UMR7063, 67084 Strasbourg Cedex, France
  • Joachim Rimpôt Université de Strasbourg/CNRS, Institut Terre et Environnement de Strasbourg, UMR7063, 67084 Strasbourg Cedex, France
  • Alessia Maggi Université de Strasbourg/CNRS, Institut Terre et Environnement de Strasbourg, UMR7063, 67084 Strasbourg Cedex, France
  • Dimitri Zigone Université de Strasbourg/CNRS, Institut Terre et Environnement de Strasbourg, UMR7063, 67084 Strasbourg Cedex, France



Hotspot, Seismicity, Volcanic Structure


The Kerguelen archipelago, one of the largest oceanic archipelagos in the world, was built by an active hotspot interacting with a ridge between 110 and 40 million years ago; since then, the ridge has migrated over 1000~km away and the archipelago's volcanic activity has been steadily decreasing. Despite the lack of recent active tectonics and the quiescent volcanism of the Kerguelen archipelago, there have been several observations of seismic events of unknown origin in its vicinity. The only seismic instrument within 1000~km of the archipelago was installed on Kerguelen's main island in the 1980's. In this study we apply modern earthquake detection techniques to the continuous waveforms recorded by this seismometer over the past 20 years. We reveal that the Kerguelen archipelago islands hosts an abundant seismicity. This seismicity exhibits swarm-like characteristics in several clusters while at other locations the earthquakes appear more steady over time. We locate most events near the largest icecap of the main island. We speculate that the origin of the earthquakes can be linked to residual volcanic, magmatic, or hydrothermal activity at depth, all of which can be favored by flexural stress caused by the documented fast retreat of icecap. This seismicity may also indicate that the Kerguelen hotspot shows signs of unrest.


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How to Cite

Lengliné, O., Rimpôt, J., Maggi, A., & Zigone, D. (2023). Recent seismicity on the Kerguelen islands: Kerguelen seismicity. Seismica, 2(2).