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VOLcanoes: Understanding subsurface mass moveMEnt


Volcanic eruptions are preceded by mass migration through subsurface fracture network. A primary goal in monitoring active volcanoes is to capture, from the surface, measurements of sub surface mass movement. Such movements of multiphase fluids are genera lly detected at surface in terms of changes in geophysical (ground deformation, seismicity) and geochemical observables. Such variations are therefore viewed with considerable interest in term of any early recognition of precursors to an eruption. Howeve r, changes in the seismicity, ground deformation and/or geochemical tracers are not always related to the dynamics of magma bodies alone, and therefore do not necessarily indicate an eruption onset. Modern vulcanology, even with abundant monitoring data, s till does not identify diagnostic, unambiguous precursors to an eruption. The dynamics of volcanoes result in fact from the complex interplay between tectonic forces on regional scales, gravity forces on local scales and forces related to the activity of h ydrothermal and magmatic systems. Understanding the relationships between these processes is therefore one of the major goals to be attained toward a quantitative assessment of precursors to volcanic eruptions. The rationale behind this VOLUME project is t o increase our understanding of how subsurface mass movement manifests itself at the surface, in turn revealing the significance of such movements as precursors to impending eruptions. In this project we employ and integrate seismic, gravimetric, geochemi cal, terrestrial and spaced based deformation data. We undertake joint inversions of these datasets through iterative numerical forward modelling of coupled processes (e.g. multi-phase fluid pulses with elastic wave radiation in solids; gas and temperature with ground deformation and seismicity). We will utilise existing data for permanent installations for a suite of test sites comprising differing volcano types at different times in their activity cycle.

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Belfield Campus

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Participants (16)