Geophysikalisches Institut (GPI)

Tracking Tremor during Subglacial Eruptions

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  • Referent:

    Prof. Dr. Eva Eibl
    Universität Potsdam

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The volcanoes in Iceland are not only active, but some of them are covered completely or partly by ice. This adds to the challenge of eruption forecasting since suitable signals for forecasting are now hidden amongst other signals caused for example by geothermal activity, flowing water or moving and cracking ice.

Volcanic eruptions beneath the ice nevertheless leave a trace of their activity on the ice surface. This trace can support interpretations of seismic signals as part of a subglacial eruption. This talk will discuss a strong, seismic tremor pulse detected beneath Vatnajökull glacier while an effusive, subaerial eruption was ongoing a few tens of kilometres further northwards.

In order to further aid interpretation and detection of geothermal signals beneath the ice, we investigated the geothermally active region around Strokkur geyser in Iceland. This geyser features single to sextuple eruptions at a very regular spacing. Like a volcano it is characterised by a heat source at depth, bubble trap and conduit system which we successfully mapped using data from close seismic stations.

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