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Earthquake classification, location, and error analysis in a volcanic environment: implications for the magmatic system of the 1989-1990 eruptions at redoubt volcano, Alaska

Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research

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Abstract

Determination of the precise locations of seismic events associated with the 1989-1990 eruptions of Redoubt Volcano posed a number of problems, including poorly known crustal velocities, a sparse station distribution, and an abundance of events with emergent phase onsets. In addition, the high relief of the volcano could not be incorporated into the hypoellipse earthquake location algorithm. This algorithm was modified to allow hypocenters to be located above the elevation of the seismic stations. The velocity model was calibrated on the basis of a posteruptive seismic survey, in which four chemical explosions were recorded by eight stations of the permanent network supplemented with 20 temporary seismographs deployed on and around the volcanic edifice. The model consists of a stack of homogeneous horizontal layers; setting the top of the model at the summit allows events to be located anywhere within the volcanic edifice. Detailed analysis of hypocentral errors shows that the long-period (LP) events constituting the vigorous 23-hour swarm that preceded the initial eruption on December 14 could have originated from a point 1.4 km below the crater floor. A similar analysis of LP events in the swarm preceding the major eruption on January 2 shows they also could have originated from a point, the location of which is shifted 0.8 km northwest and 0.7 km deeper than the source of the initial swarm. We suggest this shift in LP activity reflects a northward jump in the pathway for magmatic gases caused by the sealing of the initial pathway by magma extrusion during the last half of December. Volcano-tectonic (VT) earthquakes did not occur until after the initial 23-hour-long swarm. They began slowly just below the LP source and their rate of occurrence increased after the eruption of 01:52 AST on December 15, when they shifted to depths of 6 to 10 km. After January 2 the VT activity migrated gradually northward; this migration suggests northward propagating withdrawal of magma from a plexus of dikes and/or sills located in the 6 to 10 km depth range. Precise relocations of selected events prior to January 2 clearly resolve a narrow, steeply dipping, pencil-shaped concentration of activity in the depth range of 1-7 km, which illuminates the conduit along which magma was transported to the surface. A third event type, named hybrid, which blends the characteristics of both VT and LP events, originates just below the LP source, and may reflect brittle failure along a zone intersecting a fluid-filled crack. The distribution of hybrid events is elongated 0.2-0.4 km in an east-west direction. This distribution may offer constraints on the orientation and size of the fluid-filled crack inferred to be the source of the LP events. ?? 1994.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Earthquake classification, location, and error analysis in a volcanic environment: implications for the magmatic system of the 1989-1990 eruptions at redoubt volcano, Alaska
Series title:
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Volume
62
Issue:
1-4
Year Published:
1994
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
First page:
137
Last page:
151
Number of Pages:
15