Outstanding challenges in the seismological study of volcanic processes: Results from recent U.S. and European community-wide discussion workshops
Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 8:00 AM
Observations of volcanically induced seismicity are essential for eruption forecasting and for real-time and near-real-time warnings of hazardous volcanic activity. Studies of volcanic seismicity and of seismic wave propagation also provide critical understanding of subsurface magmatic systems and the physical processes associated with magma genesis, transport, and eruption. However, desipite significant advances in recent years, our ability to successfully forecast volcanic eruptions and fully understand subsurface volcanic processes is limited by our current understanding of the source processes of volcano-seismic events, the effects on seismic wave propagation within volcanic structures, limited data, and even the non-standardized terminology used to describe seismic waveforms. Progress in volcano seismology is further hampered by inconsistent data formats and standards, lack of state-of-the-art hardware and professional technical staff, as well as a lack of widely adopted analysis techniques and software. Addressing these challenges will not only advance scientific understanding of volcanoes, but also will lead to more accurate forecasts and warnings of hazardous volcanic eruptions that would ultimately save lives and property world-wide. Two recent workshops held in Anchorage, Alaska, and Oxford, UK, represent important steps towards developing a relationship among members of the academic community and government agencies, focused around a shared, long-term vision for volcano seismology. Recommendations arising from the two workshops fall into six categories: 1) Ongoing and enhanced community-wide discussions, 2) data and code curation and dissemination, 3) code development, 4) development of resources for more comprehensive data mining, 5) enhanced strategic seismic data collection, and 6) enhanced integration of multiple datasets (including seismicity) to understand all states of volcano activity through space and time. As presented sequentially above, these steps can be regarded as a road map for galvanizing and strengthening the volcano seismological community to drive new scientific and technical progress over the next 5-10 years.