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Seismic and infrasonic source processes in volcanic fluid systems

  • Author(s): Matoza, Robin S.
  • et al.
Abstract

Volcanoes exhibit a spectacular diversity in fluid oscillation processes, which lead to distinct seismic and acoustic signals in the solid earth and atmosphere. Volcano seismic waveforms contain rich information on the geometry of fluid migration, resonance effects, and transient and sustained pressure oscillations resulting from unsteady flow through subsurface cracks, fissures and conduits. Volcanic sounds contain information on shallow fluid flow, resonance in near-surface cavities, and degassing dynamics into the atmosphere. Since volcanoes have large spatial scales, the vast majority of their radiated atmospheric acoustic energy is infrasonic ($<$20 Hz). This dissertation presents observations from joint broadband seismic and infrasound array deployments at Mount St.\ Helens (MSH, Washington State, USA), Tungurahua (Ecuador), and Kilauea Volcano (Hawaii, USA), each providing data for several years. These volcanoes represent a broad spectrum of eruption styles ranging from hawaiian to plinian in nature. The catalogue of recorded infrasonic signals includes continuous broadband and harmonic tremor from persistent degassing at basaltic lava vents and tubes at Puù \={O}\̀={o} (Kilauea), thousands of repetitive impulsive signals associated with seismic long- period (0.5-5 Hz) events and the dynamics of the shallow hydrothermal system at MSH, rockfall signals from the unstable dacite dome at MSH, energetic explosion blast waves and gliding infrasonic harmonic tremor at Tungurahua volcano, and large-amplitude and long-duration broadband signals associated with jetting during vulcanian, subplinian and plinian eruptions at MSH and Tungurahua. We develop models for a selection of these infrasonic signals. For infrasonic long-period (LP) events at MSH, we investigate seismic-acoustic coupling from various buried source configurations as a means to excite infrasound waves in the atmosphere. We find that linear elastic seismic-acoustic transmission from the ground to atmosphere is inadequate to explain the observations, and propose that the signals may result from sudden containment failure of a pressurized hydrothermal crack. For the broadband eruption tremor signals, we propose that the infrasonic signals represent a low-frequency form of jet noise, analogous to the noise from man-made jet engines, but operating with larger spatial scales and consequently longer time-scales. For the persistent hawaiian tremor signals, we propose that bubble cloud oscillation in the upper section of a roiling magma conduit and vortex dynamics in the shallow degassing region act as broadband and harmonic tremor sources. We also consider infrasound propagation effects in a dynamic atmosphere and discuss their effects on recorded signals. This dissertation demonstrates that combined seismic and infrasonic data provide complementary perspectives on eruptive activity

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