Local Volcano Infrasound Monitoring

  • Jeffrey JohnsonEmail author


Infrasound monitoring is employed to enhance understanding of eruption dynamics and to track eruptive activity over time. Local infrasound, where sensors are positioned near to and/or on the flanks of volcanoes, implies that sound transmission from vent to receiver is approximately line-of-sight. Typical assumptions are that pressure decays as the inverse of distance and that attenuation and dispersion effects are minimal. Locally recorded signals thus represent relatively undistorted source time motions and can be used to effectively characterize volcanic activity. Local monitoring can entail a spectrum of installation topologies including single isolated sensors on a volcano, networks of sensors, a single array, or networks of sensor arrays. Stations may be installed as standalone or in telemetered configurations depending upon available resources and research objectives, which may range from simple explosion counting to degassing detection, mapping of vents, or identification of moving sources. Some of these objectives are only possible using arrays. Quantifying volcano infrasound, in terms of both spectral shape, power, and signal envelope, is relatively straightforward using data recorded at local distances. Despite inter-network variability, influenced by potential source directivity, propagation effects, and/or site response, the local infrasound records permit good estimation of total acoustic energy, identification of dominant spectral tones, and signal morphology. These parameters may be robustly compared at a volcano over time and/or compared to other volcanoes. Ultimately, infrasound analysis permits remote surveillance of activity occurring at the vent (or on the slopes) of a volcano that may otherwise be difficult to observe.



Data presented here were collected with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) EAR grant 1151662 and the Fulbright Scholar’s Program. Appreciation is extended to Dr. Matthew Haney, who provided insightful and helpful review of the chapter.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeosciencesBoise State UniversityBoiseUSA

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