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Detecting Geyser Activity with Infrasound
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
  • Jeffrey B. Johnson, Boise State University
  • J. F. Anderson, New Mexico Tech
  • R. E. Anthony, New Mexico Tech
  • M. Sciotto, Università di Catania
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We monitored geyser activity in the Lower Geyser Basin (LGB) of Yellowstone National Park with dual four-element microphone arrays separated by ~ 600 m. The arrays were independently used to identify incident coherent plane wave energy, then conjoint cross beam back-azimuths from the two arrays were used to precisely locate signal sources. During a week in August 2011 we located repeating infrasound events, peaked in energy between 1 and 10 Hz, originating from at least five independent geothermal features, including the episodically erupting Great Fountain, Fountain and Kaleidoscope Geysers, as well as periodic infrasound from nearby Botryoidal and persistent sound from Firehole Spring. Although activity from nearby cone-type geysers was not detected in the infrasound band up through 50 Hz, the major fountain-type geysers (i.e., with columns greater than 10 m) could be detected at several kilometers, and two minor geysers (i.e., a few meters in eruption height) could be tracked at distances up to a few hundred meters. Detection of geyser activity was especially comprehensive at night when ambient noise was low. We conclude that infrasound monitoring of fountain-type geysers permits convenient tracking of geyser activity, episodicity, signal duration, energy content, and spectral content. These parameters enable objective statistical quantification of geyser behavior and changes over time that may be due to external forcing. Infrasonic study of geyser activity in an individual basin has great monitoring utility and can be reasonably accomplished with two or more distributed sensor arrays.
Copyright Statement

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, Volume 256, 15 April 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2013.02.016

Citation Information
Jeffrey B. Johnson, J. F. Anderson, R. E. Anthony and M. Sciotto. "Detecting Geyser Activity with Infrasound" Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research (2013)
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