GEOPHYSICS: Decaying Volcanic Tremor

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Science  24 Aug 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5534, pp. 1405c
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5534.1405c

Volcanic tremor is a distinctive high-frequency seismic signal that may be used to help predict eruptions. Although the mechanism that triggers tremor is not well understood, tremor is generally modeled as a pulsing fluid or gas trapped within a narrow conduit of the edifice.

Del Pezzo et al. used energy transport theory to model the dissipation of volcanic tremor as the energy moves from the source to the seismometer and compared this with observations of tremor at Mt. Etna, Italy, and Masaya volcano, Japan. The energy from tremor signals at the two volcanoes was dissipated within the conduit rather than being scattered outside in the surrounding country rock, possibly because of small structural heterogeneities in the conduit. Knowledge of the conduit structure and energy dissipation pattern should help to improve predictions of magma flow and possible eruption sites. — LR

Geophys. Res. Lett. 28, 3038 (2001).

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