Incipient instabilities, which are presently developing within the chalk of ancient (ca. 1100 years old) bell-shaped caverns at the Bet Guvrin National Park (Israel), have been the aim of multiple investigations for more than a decade. An innovative and independent validation approach is presented here, whereby numerical predictions of material instabilities are compared with the spatial distribution of extremely weak (ML > -4.0) failure signals detected by nanoseismic monitoring. Our data show that it is indeed possible to detect a series of extremely weak spiky broad-band signals. Their characterization and location indicate that they are unequivocally generated by incipient brittle failure within the chalk material of the bell-shaped caves, thus verifying numerical predictions. Furthermore, our investigations suggest that numerical modelling is best used to guide nanoseismic monitoring, which, in turn, can quantify the spatio-temporal distribution of actual incipient failure.


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