Strong S-wave attenuation and actively degassing magma beneath Taal volcano, Philippines, inferred from source location analysis using high-frequency seismic amplitudes
Monday, 15 December 2014
Taal volcano, Philippines, is one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes given its history of explosive eruptions and its close proximity to populated areas. A key feature of these eruptions is that the eruption vents were not limited to Main Crater but occurred on the flanks of Volcano Island. This complex eruption history and the fact that thousands of people inhabit the island, which has been declared a permanent danger zone, together imply an enormous potential for disasters. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) constantly monitors Taal, and international collaborations have conducted seismic, geodetic, electromagnetic, and geochemical studies to investigate the volcano’s magma system. Realtime broadband seismic, GPS, and magnetic networks were deployed in 2010 to improve monitoring capabilities and to better understand the volcano. The seismic network has recorded volcano-tectonic (VT) events beneath Volcano Island. We located these VT events based on high-frequency seismic amplitudes, and found that some events showed considerable discrepancies between the amplitude source locations and hypocenters determined by using onset arrival times. Our analysis of the source location discrepancies points to the existence of a region of strong S-wave attenuation near the ground surface beneath the east flank of Volcano Island. This region is beneath the active fumarolic area and above sources of pressure contributing inflation and deflation, and it coincides with a region of high electrical conductivity. The high-attenuation region matches that inferred from an active-seismic survey conducted at Taal in 1993. Our results, synthesized with previous results, suggest that this region represents actively degassing magma near the surface, and imply a high risk of future eruptions on the east flank of Volcano Island.