Thermal, acoustic and seismic signals from pyroclastic density currents and Vulcanian explosions at Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat

Year: 2014

Authors: Delle Donne D., Ripepe M., De Angelis S., Cole P.D., Lacanna G., Poggi P., Stewart R.

Autors Affiliation: Dipartimento Scienze della Terra, Universita’ di Firenze, via G. La Pira, 4, 50121 Firenze, Italy; School of Ocean and Environmental Sciences, Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Liverpool, 4 Brownlow Street, Liverpool L69 3GP, UK; Montserrat Volcano Observatory, Flemmings, Montserrat, West Indies; Seismic Research Centre, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies; INO (Istituto Nazionale di Ottica), Largo E. Fermi, 6, 50125 Firenze, Italy

Abstract: We show two examples of how integrated analysis of thermal and infrasound signal can be used to obtain, in real time, information on volcanic activity. Soufrie`re Hills Volcano (SHV) on Montserrat offers the opportunity to study a large variety of processes related to lava-dome activity, such as pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) and large Vulcanian eruptions. Infrasound and thermal analysis are used to constrain the propagation of PDCs and their velocities, which are calculated here to range between 15 and 75 m s21. During
the Vulcanian eruption of 5 February 2010, infrasound and thermal records allow us to identify an approximately 13 s seismic precursor possibly related to the pressurization of the conduit before the explosion onset. The associated very long period (VLP) seismic signal is correlated with the gas-thrust phase detected by thermal imagery, and may reflect a change in the upward momentuminduced by the mass discharge. Moreover, from infrasound and thermal analysis, we estimate a gas-thrust phase lasting 22 s, with an initial plume velocity of approximately 170 m s21 and a mean volumetric discharge rate of 0.3  105–9.2  105 m3.


KeyWords: Thermal; Volcano, Montserrat;