Seismo-Acoustic Signals Associated with Degassing Explosions Recorded at Shishaldin Volcano, Alaska, 2003-2004

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Shishaldin, Volcano seismology, Long-period earthquakes, Volcanic infrasound, Seismo-acoustic signals, Degassing

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In summer 2003, a Chaparral Model 2 microphone was deployed at Shishaldin Volcano, Aleutian Islands, Alaska. The pressure sensor was co-located with a short-period seismometer on the volcano’s north flank at a distance of 6.62 km from the active summit vent. The seismo-acoustic data exhibit a correlation between impulsive acoustic signals (1–2 Pa) and long-period (LP, 1–2 Hz) earthquakes. Since it last erupted in 1999, Shishaldin has been characterized by sustained seismicity consisting of many hundreds to two thousand LP events per day. The activity is accompanied by up to ∼200 m high discrete gas puffs exiting the small summit vent, but no significant eruptive activity has been confirmed. The acoustic waveforms possess similarity throughout the data set (July 2003–November 2004) indicating a repetitive source mechanism. The simplicity of the acoustic waveforms, the impulsive onsets with relatively short (∼10–20 s) gradually decaying codas and the waveform similarities suggest that the acoustic pulses are generated at the fluid–air interface within an open-vent system. SO2 measurements have revealed a low SO2 flux, suggesting a hydrothermal system with magmatic gases leaking through. This hypothesis is supported by the steady-state nature of Shishaldin’s volcanic system since 1999. Time delays between the seismic LP and infrasound onsets were acquired from a representative day of seismo-acoustic data. A simple model was used to estimate source depths. The short seismo-acoustic delay times have revealed that the seismic and acoustic sources are co-located at a depth of 240±200 m below the crater rim. This shallow depth is confirmed by resonance of the upper portion of the open conduit, which produces standing waves with f=0.3 Hz in the acoustic waveform codas. The infrasound data has allowed us to relate Shishaldin’s LP earthquakes to degassing explosions, created by gas volume ruptures from a fluid–air interface.

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Bulletin of Volcanology, v. 69, issue 5, p. 527-536