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Journal Article

Strombolian surface activity regimes at Yasur volcano, Vanuatu, as observed by Doppler radar, infrared camera and infrasound

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Meier, K., Hort, M., Wassermann, J., & Garaebiti, E. (2016). Strombolian surface activity regimes at Yasur volcano, Vanuatu, as observed by Doppler radar, infrared camera and infrasound. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 322, 184-195. doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2015.07.038.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0029-28F7-6
In late 2008 we recorded a continuous multi-parameter data set including Doppler radar, infrared and infrasound data at Yasur volcano, Vanuatu. Our recordings cover a transition in explosive style from ash-rich to ash-free explosions followed again by a phase of high ash discharge. To assess the present paradigm of Strombolian behavior in this study we investigate the geophysical signature of these different explosive episodes and compare our results to observations at Stromboli volcano, Italy. To this end we characterize Yasur's surface activity in terms of material movement, temperature and excess pressure. The joint temporal trend in these data reveals smooth variations of surface activity and regime-like persistence of individual explosion forms over days. Analysis of all data types shows ash-free and ash-rich explosive styles similar to those found at Stromboli volcano. During ash-free activity low echo powers, high explosion velocities and high temperatures result from the movement of isolated hot ballistic clasts. In contrast, ash-rich episodes exhibit high echo powers, low explosion velocities and low temperatures linked to the presence of colder ash-rich plumes. Furthermore ash-free explosions cause high excess pressure signals exhibiting high frequencies opposed to low-amplitude, low-frequency signals accompanying ash-rich activity. To corroborate these findings we compare fifteen representative explosions of each explosive episode. Explosion onset velocities derived from Doppler radar and infrared camera data are in excellent agreement and consistent with overall observations in each regime. Examination of infrasound recordings likewise confirms our observations, although a weak coupling between explosion velocity and excess pressure indicates changes in wave propagation. The overall trend in explosion velocity and excess pressure however demonstrates a general correlation between explosive style and explosion intensity, and points to stability of the uppermost conduit on timescales shorter than at Stromboli volcano.