Seismic detection of increased degassing before Kilauea's 2008 summit explosion

Jessica H. Johnson*, Michael P. Poland

*Corresponding author for this work

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

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The 2008 explosion that started a new eruption at the summit of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai'i, was not preceded by a dramatic increase in earthquakes nor inflation, but was associated with increases in SO2 emissions and seismic tremor. Here we perform shear wave splitting analysis on local earthquakes spanning the onset of the eruption. Shear wave splitting measures seismic anisotropy and is traditionally used to infer changes in crustal stress over time. We show that shear wave splitting may also vary due to changes in volcanic degassing. The orientation of fast shear waves at Kilauea is usually controlled by structure, but in 2008 showed changes with increased SO2 emissions preceding the start of the summit eruption. This interpretation for changing anisotropy is supported by corresponding decreases in V-p/V-s ratio. Our result demonstrates a novel method for detecting changes in gas flux using seismic observations and provides a new tool for monitoring under-instrumented volcanoes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1668
Number of pages6
JournalNature Communications
Volume4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

Keywords

  • VELOCITY ANISOTROPY
  • TEMPORAL-CHANGES
  • HAWAII
  • VOLCANO
  • EARTHQUAKES
  • INSIGHTS
  • ERUPTION
  • STRESS
  • FAULT

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