Hydroacoustic, infrasonic and seismic monitoring of the submarine eruptive activity and sub-aerial plume generation at South Sarigan, May 2010

TitleHydroacoustic, infrasonic and seismic monitoring of the submarine eruptive activity and sub-aerial plume generation at South Sarigan, May 2010
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsGreen DN, Evers LG, Fee D, Matoza RS, Snellen M, Smets P, Simons D
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Date Published2013/05
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0377-0273
Accession NumberWOS:000319848700004
Keywordsatmosphere; earthquakes; emplacement; extrusion; Hydroacoustic; infrasound; lava dome; montserrat; pacific; propagation; Sarigan; Seismology; signals; Submarine eruption; volcano

Explosive submarine volcanic processes are poorly understood, due to the difficulties associated with both direct observation and continuous monitoring. In this study hydroacoustic, infrasound, and seismic signals recorded during the May 2010 submarine eruption of South Sarigan seamount, Marianas Arc, are used to construct a detailed event chronology. The signals were recorded on stations of the International Monitoring System, which is a component of the verification measures for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Numerical hydroacoustic and infrasound propagation modelling confirms that viable propagation paths from the source to receivers exist, and provide traveltimes allowing signals recorded on the different technologies to be associated. The eruption occurred in three stages, separated by three-hour periods of quiescence. 1) A 46 h period during which broadband impulsive hydroacoustic signals were generated in clusters lasting between 2 and 13 min. 95% of the 7602 identified events could be classified into 4 groups based on their waveform similarity. The time interval between clusters decreased steadily from 80 to 25 min during this period. 2) A five-hour period of 10 Hz hydroacoustic tremor, interspersed with large-amplitude, broadband signals. Associated infrasound signals were also recorded at this time. 3) An hour-long period of transient broadband events culminated in two large-amplitude hydroacoustic events and one broadband infrasound signal. A speculative interpretation, consistent with the data, suggests that during phase (1) transitions between endogenous dome growth and phreatomagmatic explosions occurred with the magma ascent rate accelerating throughout the period; during phase (2) continuous venting of fragmented magma occurred, and was powerful enough to breach the sea surface. During the climactic phase (3) discrete powerful explosions occurred, and sufficient seawater was vaporised to produce the contemporaneous 12 km altitude steam plume.

Short TitleJ. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res.