Investigation of the Infrasound Produced by Geophysical Events Such as Volcanoes, Thunder, and Avalanches: The Case for Local Infrasound MonitoringRecent Advances in Infrasound Science II (2010)
Volcanoes, lightning, and mass wasting events generate substantial infrasonic energy that propagates for long distances through the atmosphere with generally low intrinsic attenuation. Although such sources are often studied with regional infrasound arrays that provide important records of their occurrence, position, and relative magnitudes these signals recorded at tens to hundreds of kilometers are often significantly affected by propagation effects. Complex atmospheric structure, due to heterogeneous winds and temperatures, and intervening topography can be responsible for multi-pathing, signal attenuation, and focusing or, alternatively, information loss (i.e., a shadow zone). At far offsets, geometric spreading diminishes signal amplitude requiring low noise recording sites and high fidelity microphones. In contrast recorded excess pressures at local distances are much higher in amplitude and waveforms are more representative of source phenomena. We report on recent studies of volcanoes, thunder, and avalanches made with networks and arrays of infrasound sensors deployed local (within a few km) to the source. At Kilauea Volcano (Hawaii) we deployed a network of ~50 infrasound sensitive sensors (flat from 50 s to 50 Hz) to track the coherence of persistent infrasonic tremor signals in the near-field (out to a few tens of kilometers). During periods of high winds (> 5-10 m/s) we found significant atmospheric influence for signals recorded at stations only a few kilometers from the source. Such observations have encouraged us to conduct a range of volcano, thunder, and snow avalanche studies with networks of small infrasound arrays (~30 m aperture) deployed close to the source region. We present results from local microphone deployments (12 sensors) at Santiaguito Volcano (Guatemala) where we are able to precisely (~10 m resolution) locate acoustic sources from explosions and rock falls. We also present results from our thunder mapping acoustic arrays (15 sensors) in the Magdalena Mountains of New Mexico capable of mapping lightning channels more than 10 km in extent whose positions are corroborated by the radio wave detecting lightning mapping array. We also discuss the recent implementation of a network of snow avalanche detection arrays (12 sensors) in Idaho that are used to monitor and track and map infrasound produced by moving sources. We contend that local infrasound deployment is analogous to local seismic monitoring in that it enables precision localization and interpretation of source phenomena.
Publication DateDecember 13, 2010
Citation InformationJ. B. Johnson, O. E. Marcillo, R. O. Arechiga, R. Johnson, et al.. "Investigation of the Infrasound Produced by Geophysical Events Such as Volcanoes, Thunder, and Avalanches: The Case for Local Infrasound Monitoring" Recent Advances in Infrasound Science II (2010)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jeffrey_johnson/8/