Using EarthScope Transportable Array Data to Study and Monitor Volcanic Eruptions

The EarthScope Transportable Array (TA) is currently being deployed in Alaska, bringing the densest ever combined seismic and infrasonic network to one of the world’s most active volcanic regions. Exploiting this novel dataset, this project will advance the capability of acoustic early warning systems of volcanic eruptions for aviation safety and will assess the potential contribution of large sensor networks such as the TA to volcano monitoring. At the end of the project, an operational volcano-acoustic monitoring system resulting from this work will be implemented at the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

Correlating infrasound with volcanic emissions

We have a current NSF project correlating infrasound signals with volcanic emissions (both ash and gas). Our aim is to develop quantitative relationships between volcanic emissions and infrasound based both on theoretical and empirical analysis. Thus far we have performed field experiments at Karymsky Volcano, Kamchatka, Russia; Sakurajima Volcano, Japan; and Yasur Volcano, Vanuatu. Because of the persistent and diverse activity, these volcanoes are excellent locations to study volcano infrasound. This work will also lead to a better understanding of the different types of volcanic infrasound produced at explosive volcanoes. Additional comparisons are being performed on volcanic eruptions in Alaska as well.

Alaska Volcano Observatory

Infrasound has become an increasingly useful tool to monitor and characterize volcanic eruptions in Alaska and around the globe. Currently I work with the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) to help interpet infrasound from volcanic eruptions. In particular, the recent explosive activity of the remote Cleveland Volcano (right) has been clearly recorded at infrasound stations up to 2,000 km away, sometimes the other technology to detect an eruption. Find more information on infrasound and AVO at the AVO website

Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Our group at the Wilson Alaska Technical Center (WATC) operates and maintains numerous infrasound and seismic stations of the International Monitoring System (IMS) of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban-Treaty Organization. We also perform research to help better understand and optimize the performance of these stations, including sensor calibration and noise reduction techniques.

Volcanic Jet Noise

Recent analysis of large-scale, sustained volcanic eruptions has shown them to produce a low frequency form of jet noise with a characteristic frequency spectrum. Considerable research has been made on man-made noise from jets, and some of this work appears applicable to volcanic jets. For example, important parameters such as jet velocity and diameter may be deduced from the acoustic data, which would be relevant to understanding volcanic eruptions. The identification and understanding of volcanic jet noise (and hence volcanic jets) would be a major step forward in volcano acoustics and volcanology in general. However, more recordings of volcanic jets, as well as numerical and analogue modeling, are necessary to determine the parameters for volcanic jets. The effect of solid particles and high temperatures on volcanic jet noise also needs to be addressed, and is something I hope to pursue in the near future. A recently NSF-funded project in conjunction with members of the Scripps Research Institute comparing infrasound observations with numerical models of jets.

Volcano Acoustics Workshop - IAVCEI - Sakurajima Volcano

A two-day workshop was held in July 2013 in conjunction with the IAVCEI Scientific Assembly. The workshop covered all aspects of volcano acoustics, from isntallation to analysis. We also deployed a number of infrasound sensors and arrays around the active Sakurajima Volcano. More information can be found at