Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

No Redoubt: Volcanic eruption forecasting improved

Date:
April 29, 2013
Source:
Carnegie Institution
Summary:
Forecasting volcanic eruptions with success is heavily dependent on recognizing well-established patterns of pre-eruption unrest in the monitoring data. But in order to develop better monitoring procedures, it is also crucial to understand volcanic eruptions that deviate from these patterns. New research retrospectively documented and analyzed the period immediately preceding the 2009 eruption of the Redoubt volcano in Alaska, which was characterized by an abnormally long period of pre-eruption seismic activity that's normally associated with short-term warnings of eruption.

Redoubt Volcano.
Credit: Courtesy of USGS

Forecasting volcanic eruptions with success is heavily dependent on recognizing well-established patterns of pre-eruption unrest in the monitoring data. But in order to develop better monitoring procedures, it is also crucial to understand volcanic eruptions that deviate from these patterns.

Related Articles


New research from a team led by Carnegie's Diana Roman retrospectively documented and analyzed the period immediately preceding the 2009 eruption of the Redoubt volcano in Alaska, which was characterized by an abnormally long period of pre-eruption seismic activity that's normally associated with short-term warnings of eruption. Their work is published today by Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

Well-established pre-eruption patterns can include a gradual increase in the rate of seismic activity, a progressive alteration in the type of seismic activity, or a change in ratios of gas released. "But there are numerous cases of volcanic activity that in some way violated these common patterns of precursory unrest," Roman said. "That's why examining the unusual precursor behavior of the Redoubt eruption is so enlightening."

About six to seven months before the March 2009 eruption, Redoubt began to experience long-period seismic events, as well as shallow volcanic tremors, which intensified into a sustained tremor over the next several months. Immediately following this last development, shallow, short-period earthquakes were observed at an increased rate below the summit. In the 48 hours prior to eruption both deep and shallow earthquakes were recorded.

This behavior was unusual because precursor observations usually involve a transition from short-period to long-period seismic activity, not the other way around. What's more, seismic tremor is usually seen as a short-term warning, not something that happens months in advance. However, these same precursors were also observed during the 1989-90 Redoubt eruption, thus indicating that the unusual seismic pattern reflects some unique aspect of the volcano's magma system.

Advanced analysis of the seismic activity taking place under the volcano allowed Roman and her team to understand the changes taking place before, during, and after eruption. Their results show that the eruption was likely preceded by a protracted period of slow magma ascent, followed by a short period of rapidly increasing pressure beneath Redoubt.

Elucidating the magma processes causing these unusual precursor events could help scientists to hone their seismic forecasting, rather than just relying on the same forecasting tools they're currently using, ones that are not able to detect anomalies.

For example, using current techniques, the forecasts prior to Redoubt's 2009 eruption wavered over a period of five months, back and forth between eruption being likely within a few weeks to within a few days. If the analytical techniques used by Roman and her team had been taken into consideration, the early risk escalations might not have been issued.

"Our work shows the importance of clarifying the underlying processes driving anomalous volcanic activity. This will allow us to respond to subtle signals and increase confidence in making our forecasts." Roman said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Carnegie Institution. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Diana C. Roman, Matthew D. Gardine. Seismological evidence for long-term and rapidly accelerating magma pressurization preceding the 2009 eruption of Redoubt Volcano, Alaska. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2013.03.040

Cite This Page:

Carnegie Institution. "No Redoubt: Volcanic eruption forecasting improved." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130429133705.htm>.
Carnegie Institution. (2013, April 29). No Redoubt: Volcanic eruption forecasting improved. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130429133705.htm
Carnegie Institution. "No Redoubt: Volcanic eruption forecasting improved." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130429133705.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

Raw: Lava Inches Closer to Highway

AP (Dec. 21, 2014) Officials have opened a new road on Hawaii's Big Island for drivers to take care of their daily needs if encroaching lava from Kilauea Volcano crosses a highway and cuts them off from the rest of the island. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scuba Diving Santa Off Florida Keys

Raw: Scuba Diving Santa Off Florida Keys

AP (Dec. 20, 2014) A scuba diving Santa Claus explored the waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Dive shop owner Spencer Slate makes the dive each year to help raise money for charity. (Dec. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) US President Barack Obama says that construction of the Keystone pipeline would have 'very little impact' on US gas prices and believes there are 'more direct ways' to create construction jobs. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

Raw: Lava on Track to Hit Hawaii Market

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) Lava from an active volcano on Hawaii's Big Island slowed slightly but stayed on track to hit a shopping center in the small town of Pahoa. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins