Mass variations in response to magmatic stress changes at Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat (W.I.): Insights from 4-D gravity data

Stefanie Hautmann*, Joachim Gottsmann, Antonio G. Camacho, Nicolas Fournier, I. Selwyn Sacks, R. Stephen J Sparks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The eruption of Soufrière Hills Volcano (Montserrat, West Indies) has been ongoing for more than a decade, yet routine monitoring of the activity did not include gravity surveillance for most of the time. In June/July 2006, we installed a new elevation-controlled microgravity network, which we re-occupied in January/February 2007 and August/September 2008. Residual gravity changes of up to 74 μGal between the surveys allow us to infer net mass and/or density changes beneath the central part of the island. Data inversion for causative source parameters indicates mass changes along NW-SE elongated structures beneath the Centre Hills at a minimum depth of 700 m. We suggest the observed gravity variations to be related to poroelastic dynamics involving groundwater migration and/or fracture opening/closing along a hitherto unrecognized fault zone. The perturbations appear to be triggered by changes in the stress field of the shallow plumbing system of Soufrière Hills Volcano.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-89
Number of pages7
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume290
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2010

Keywords

  • dynamic gravity
  • fault zone
  • fluid migration
  • Soufrière Hills Volcano
  • volcano-tectonic interaction

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