Mode-switching in volcanic seismicity: El Hierro 2011-13

Nick. S. Roberts, Andrew F. Bell, Ian G. Main

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Gutenberg-Richter b value is commonly used in volcanic eruption forecasting to infer material or mechanical properties from earthquake distributions. Such studies typically analyze discrete time windows or phases, but the choice of such windows is subjective and can introduce significant bias. Here we minimize this sample bias by iteratively sampling catalogs with randomly chosen windows and then stack the resulting probability density functions for the estimated inline image value to determine a net probability density function. We examine data from the El Hierro seismic catalog during a period of unrest in 2011–2013 and demonstrate clear multimodal behavior. Individual modes are relatively stable in time, but the most probable inline image value intermittently switches between modes, one of which is similar to that of tectonic seismicity. Multimodality is primarily associated with intermittent activation and cessation of activity in different parts of the volcanic system rather than with respect to any systematic inferred underlying process.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Early online date28 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2016

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