Sketches of river flow-induced seismicity (left) and eruption tremor (right) demonstrating their similarities
Sketches of a) river flow-induced seismicity and b) eruption tremor demonstrate their similarities. The geometries and driving forces are different, but in both cases the tremor stems from particle impacts on a rough surface and flow turbulence. Credit: Gestrich et al. [2020], Figure 2ab
Source: Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth

Volcano seismic tremor precedes and accompanies volcanic eruptions and therefore contains critical information for eruption forecasting and early warning. A rich literature of models for volcanic tremor coalesces around mechanisms that relate to magma and gas flow processes.

Gestrich et al. [2020] presents a model that leverages research on the seismicity associated with river processes to propose a model for eruption tremor. Both river and volcanic eruption processes involve multiphase flows with particles that impact the solid-fluid interface (riverbed or conduit wall) and can produce seismicity through the force of the impacts. And, both river and eruption processes involve fluid turbulence which can also translate to ground vibrations. The authors adapt and combine impact and turbulence models for river tremor into a model that predicts the amplitude and frequency content of volcanic eruption tremor and apply it to the 2016 eruption of Mount Pavlof, Alaska.

While this approach offers promise for more accurate and timely forecasts of plume height for example, the model also offers a means to model how conditions within the conduit change while the eruption is underway leading to a better understanding of how eruptions evolve.

Citation: Gestrich, J. E., Fee, D., Tsai, V. C., Haney, M. M., & Van Eaton, A. R. [2020]. A physical model for volcanic eruption tremor. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 125, e2019JB018980.

—Greg Waite, Associate Editor, JGR: Solid Earth

Text © 2020. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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