Seismic tremor reveals slow fracture propagation prior to the 2018 eruption at Sierra Negra volcano, Galápagos

Ka Lok Li, Christopher J. Bean, Andrew F. Bell, Mario Ruiz, Stephen Hernandez, James Grannell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Seismic tremor observed near active volcanoes is an important tool for volcano monitoring as it often appears shortly before eruptions. Although tremor can be generated by a variety of physical processes it is usually interpreted as direct evidence for flowing magma in the sub-surface. These interpretations typically feed into risk assessments for potential eruptions. Using the temporal evolution of tremor amplitude and spectral data from a distributed seismic network that captured the 2018 eruption at Sierra Negra in Galápagos, we determine that tremor is not directly related to sub-surface fluid movement. Instead at Sierra Negra tremor likely indicates a slowly propagating fracture, which is later exploited as a pathway for silent magma flow. Distinct differences in the source migration and the spectral character of pre-eruptive and co-eruptive tremor allow both a location estimate of the future eruption site and a precise timing of the eruption onset.
Original languageEnglish
Article number117533
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume586
Early online date19 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2022

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