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Seismo-acoustic characterisation of the 2018 Ambae (Manaro Voui) eruption, Vanuatu

Abstract

AbstractA new episode of unrest and phreatic/phreatomagmatic/magmatic eruptions occurred at Ambae volcano, Vanuatu, in 2017–2018. We installed a multi-station seismo-acoustic network consisting of seven 3-component broadband seismic stations and four 3-element (26–62 m maximum inter-element separation) infrasound arrays during the last phase of the 2018 eruption episode, capturing at least six reported major explosions towards the end of the eruption episode. The observed volcanic seismic signals are generally in the passband 0.5–10 Hz during the eruptive activity, but the corresponding acoustic signals have relatively low frequencies (< 1 Hz). Apparent very-long-period (< 0.2 Hz) seismic signals are also observed during the eruptive episode, but we show that they are generated as ground-coupled airwaves and propagate with atmospheric acoustic velocity. We observe strongly coherent infrasound waves at all acoustic arrays during the eruptions. Using waveform similarity of the acoustic signals, we detect previously unreported volcanic explosions at the summit vent region based on constant-celerity reverse-time-migration (RTM) analysis. The detected acoustic bursts are temporally related to shallow seismic volcanic tremor (frequency content of 5–10 Hz), which we characterise using a simplified amplitude ratio method at a seismic station pair with different distances from the vent. The amplitude ratio increased at the onset of large explosions and then decreased, which is interpreted as the seismic source ascent and descent. The ratio change is potentially useful to recognise volcanic unrest using only two seismic stations quickly. This study reiterates the value of joint seismo-acoustic data for improving interpretation of volcanic activity and reducing ambiguity in geophysical monitoring.

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