Volcanic Source Mechanisms from the Low Frequency End of Broadband Recordings: Examples from Fuego Volcano

Monday, 15 December 2014
Gregory P Waite and Kyle A Brill, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI, United States
With the proliferation of broadband recordings from volcanoes, it has become clear that conduit processes produce seismic signals with an extensive range of frequencies. Near the low corner of broadband instruments, the affects of ground rotation can be significant; rotation dominates at periods below the corner. Unraveling the relative influence of translation and rotation on recordings of very-long-period (12 - 120 s) and ultra-long-period (120-600 s) events is an important challenge, because including tilt in inversion of VLP and ULP signals associated with small eruptions can provide constraints on the dynamics of conduit processes. At Fuego volcano in Guatemala, we recorded hundreds of small-scale explosions in field campaigns since 2008 using temporary arrays of seismometers, tiltmeters and microbarometers. Explosions are frequently preceded by 5 to 20 minutes of tilt, indicative of pressurization of the upper conduit. The onset of explosive eruptions, which last from many tens of seconds to more than two minutes, include VLPs with peak periods from less than 30 to nearly 50 seconds. The events are dominated by ash emission that suggests a vulcanian-style downward migration of the magma fragmentation front. Joint inversions of the seismic and tilt signals using synthetic tilt and displacement Green functions provides a more complete view of the eruption process at Fuego. Inversions without tilt point to a source centroid 200 m west of and 300 m below the vent. When lower frequencies are included in the inversion, the source centroid shallows and moves east to a position directly below the vent. We interpret this to reflect a process where the vent seals and pressurizes, producing the ULP signal. The VLP signal results from a rapid change in the deformation of the upper few hundred meters of the conduit due to the ejection of magma during the explosion.