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Migration of seismic activity associated with phreatic eruption at Merapi volcano, Indonesia

Abstract : Phreatic activity of Merapi started after nearly 2 years of quiescence following the October-November 2010 eruption which was the largest in more than 100 years. A dozen eruptions identified by visual and/or seismic observations took place between August 2012 and April 2014. We present in this work the results of a detailed analysis of the April 20, 2014 phreatic eruption. We attempted to reconstruct the eruptive process, which lasted for over 30 min. To this end, we determined the wavefield composition by polarization analysis, located high-frequency earthquakes occurring in the initial part of the eruption process and then determined the seismic source migration of low-frequency part of the tremor-like signal [0.3-3 Hz] over time. Source depth of low-frequency signal was obtained by comparing the slowness vector calculated using 3 stations of the seismic antenna with a slowness vector model obtained by ray tracing in the structure, taking into account the topography and a 1D velocity model obtained by spatial auto-correlation analysis. The results allow to distinguish 3 different phases: 1) High-frequency transients interpreted as the result of a sudden decompression caused by the transition of the volcanic fluid to a gaseous phase that occurred approximately 1.5 km deep. This decompression process in the hydrothermal system generated a migration of the low-frequency seismic source from 900 m to 1800 m above sea level; 2) A second decompression process revealed by high-frequency micro-seismicity and associated to the migration of the low-frequency tremor source which is marked first by a descent phase, followed by a sharp ascent until reaching the surface. The evolution of the back-azimuth during the migration process indicates a slight inclination of the conduit, presumably in the orientation of the dome fracture, in the NW-SE direction. This direction is consistent with the alignment of regional tectonic structures and with the directivity of eruption deposits. 3) The seismic source then remains positioned at the altitude of the dome for over 10 min. This phase probably corresponds to the ash emission process. The average migration speed of the low-frequency seismic source from the starting eruptive process to ash emission is about 5 m/s.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, August 10, 2022 - 8:45:44 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, December 6, 2022 - 11:10:07 AM

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Jean-Philippe Métaxian, Agus Budi Santoso, Corentin Caudron, Noer Cholik, Claire Labonne, et al.. Migration of seismic activity associated with phreatic eruption at Merapi volcano, Indonesia. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 2020, 396, ⟨10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2020.106795⟩. ⟨insu-03748807⟩

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