Volcanic Centers in the East African Rift: Imaging Volcanic Processes with Long-Period Event Identification and Ambient Noise Tomography

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Ezer Patlan1, Antony M Wamalwa2, Sandra Hardy1, Galen Kaip1 and Aaron A Velasco1, (1)University of Texas at El Paso, Geological Sciences, El Paso, TX, United States, (2)Geothermal Development Company - GDC, Nakuru, Kenya
Kenya actively seeks to produce geothermal energy, and the country lies within the East African Rift System (EARS). The EARS, an active continental rift zone, appears to be a developing tectonic plate boundary and thus, has a number of active as well as dormant volcanoes through its extent. These volcanic centers can be used as potential sources for geothermal energy. The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and the Geothermal Development Company (GDC) began collaborating to monitor several volcanic centers, which have included passive seismic sensor deployments experiment. A number of seismological techniques will be applied to the data being collected at the four volcanic centers: Menengai, Silali, and Paka, and Korosi. In particular, we will identify long-period signals and tremor local using a time-reversal approach. Low-frequency earthquakes are interpreted as magma passing through conduits of the magma chamber and/or fluid being transported as a function of magma movement or hydrothermal activity. The time-reversal locations will help identify the margin of the volcano and caldera, and faults that could form conduits for fluids. We will also perform ambient noise tomography to image the magma chamber and the conduit feeding the volcanoes. The combination of the velocity snapshots of the magma chamber, low-frequency events, and long period events will help us interpret the activity of the calderas and volcanoes. Overall, all these techniques will help us understand magma movement and volcanic processes in the region.