Long-period earthquakes and co-eruptive dome inflation seen with particle image velocimetry

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Abstract

Dome growth and explosive degassing are fundamental processes in the cycle of continental arc volcanism1,2. Because both processes generate seismic energy, geophysical field studies of volcanic processes are often grounded in the interpretation of volcanic earthquakes3. Although previous seismic studies have provided important constraints on volcano dynamics4,5,6, such inversion results do not uniquely constrain magma source dimension and material properties. Here we report combined optical geodetic and seismic observations that robustly constrain the sources of long-period volcanic earthquakes coincident with frequent explosive eruptions at the volcano Santiaguito, in Guatemala. The acceleration of dome deformation, extracted from high-resolution optical image processing, is shown to be associated with recorded long-period seismic sources and the frequency content of seismic signals measured across a broadband network. These earthquake sources are observed as abrupt subvertical surface displacements of the dome, in which 20–50-cm uplift originates at the central vent and propagates at 50 m s-1 towards the 200-m-diameter periphery. Episodic shifts of the 20–80-m thick dome induce peak forces greater than 109 N and reflect surface manifestations of the volcanic long-period earthquakes, a broad class of volcano seismic activity that is poorly understood and observed at many volcanic centres worldwide7. On the basis of these observations, the abrupt mass shift of solidified domes, conduit magma or magma pads may play a part in generating long-period earthquakes at silicic volcanic systems.

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Figure 1: Vertical seismogram and corresponding dome uplift for Santiaguito eruptive event.
Figure 2: Comparison of long-period earthquakes and dome motion.
Figure 3: PIV-derived vertical force and synthetic seismic waveform fit.
Figure 4: Interpretation of episodic dome inflation.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the many personnel involved with instrumentation preparation and field work, including R. Sanderson, O. Marcillo, M. Hort, E. Sanchez, W. Rose, M. Ruiz, R. Salguero and staff at IRIS PASSCAL and INSIVUMEH (Guatemala). This project was made possible by the US National Science Foundation EAR grants 0440225 and 0440054.

Author Contributions J.B.J. performed the PIV and seismic analysis and wrote the paper with assistance from D.S. J.M.L. carried out the synthetic waveform modelling. A.G. and N.V. contributed to model development and data collection and analysis.

Author information

Correspondence to Jeffrey B. Johnson.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

This file contains Supplementary Methods, Supplementary Description relating to video files s2-s8, a Supplementary Discussion, Supplementary References and Supplementary Figures 1 and 2 with Legends. (PDF 2059 kb)

Supplementary Video 1

This video of Event1 Jan12 14 49.mpg shows a Santiaguito eruptive event followed by an animation of the corresponding dome surface uplift as quantified through PIV. More information about this animation can be found in Supplementary Methods. (MPG 6241 kb)

Supplementary Video 2

This video of Event2 Jan12 14 06.mpg shows a Santiaguito eruptive event followed by an animation of the corresponding dome surface uplift as quantified through PIV. More information about this animation can be found in Supplementary Methods. (MPG 9601 kb)

Supplementary Video 3

This video of Event3 Jan12 13 25.mpg shows a Santiaguito eruptive event followed by an animation of the corresponding dome surface uplift as quantified through PIV. More information about this animation can be found in Supplementary Methods. (MPG 9594 kb)

Supplementary Video 4

This video of Event4 Jan12 16 50.mpg shows a Santiaguito eruptive event followed by an animation of the corresponding dome surface uplift as quantified through PIV. More information about this animation can be found in Supplementary Methods. (MPG 9567 kb)

Supplementary Video 5

This video of Event5 Jan12 15 11.mpg | shows a Santiaguito eruptive event followed by an animation of the corresponding dome surface uplift as quantified through PIV. More information about this animation can be found in Supplementary Methods. (MPG 9557 kb)

Supplementary Video 6

This video of Event4jerk Jan12 16 50.mpg | shows a Santiaguito eruptive event followed by detail of dome surface movement. More information about this animation can be found in Supplementary Methods. (MPG 3162 kb)

Supplementary Video 7

This video of Event5jerk Jan12 15 11.mpg | shows a Santiaguito eruptive event followed by detail of dome surface movement. More information about this animation can be found in Supplementary Methods. (MPG 5358 kb)

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Johnson, J., Lees, J., Gerst, A. et al. Long-period earthquakes and co-eruptive dome inflation seen with particle image velocimetry. Nature 456, 377–381 (2008) doi:10.1038/nature07429

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