Degassing Dynamics from Long-Period and Very-Long-Period Seismicity and Infrasound at Mt. Pagan Volcano

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
John J Lyons1, Matthew M Haney1, David Fee2, Cynthia A Werner1, Christoph Kern3 and Peter J Kelly3, (1)Alaska Volcano Observatory - USGS, Anchorage, AK, United States, (2)University of Alaska Fairbanks, Geophysical Institute, Fairbanks, AK, United States, (3)Cascades Volcano Observatory - USGS, Vancouver, WA, United States
Mt. Pagan is a small (570 m ASL), active basaltic cone filling a caldera that sits atop one of the largest (2160 km3) volcanoes in the Mariana Arc Front. A VEI 4 eruption in 1981 that forced the evacuation of the island was the most recent serious activity, although low-level activity persists with a robust degassing plume and occasional small ash explosions. A new monitoring network was installed in 2013, consisting of 7 intermediate band seismometers, 2 6-component infrasound arrays, and 2 web cameras. Additionally, 12 campaign broadband seismometers recorded for 10 months in 2013-2014. Crater-rim multi-GAS sampling and remote sensing of the volcanic plume indicate a shallowly degassing magmatic system producing ~600 tonnes/day of sulfur dioxide (SO2). The seismic activity to date is dominated by frequent long-period (LP) events (~1000 events/day) with energy peaked from 0.6-2 Hz. These events are accompanied by a 3 s very-long-period (VLP) signal in the infrasound. Continuous beamforming of waveforms from the infrasound arrays shows that degassing from the summit vent is an impressive source of nearly continuous, low frequency sound. The network has also recorded infrequent, extended (minutes duration), emergent seismo-acoustic signals associated with minor ash emissions. These small explosions are accompanied by VLP seismic signals with a period of 70 s and duration of ~200 s.

In order to understand how the shallow conduit system produces nearly continuous degassing as well as discrete explosions, we performed full waveform inversions of the LP and VLP seismicity with a combination of campaign and permanent stations. The best-fit location for a 6 moment plus 3 force source mechanism lies at ~500 m beneath and at the western margin of the summit vent. The source time function is dominated by the diagonal components of the moment tensor with a minor contribution from the vertical single force. We suggest that these signals are caused by fluid transport through the magmatic system and subsequent response of the magma column and chamber to the fluid flux. The best-fit source location for the LP seismicity is beneath the vent, several hundred meters above the VLP source. The mechanism is dilatational and forward modeling indicates a geometry that most likely represents a subvertical dike.