Seafloor seismic monitoring of an active submarine volcano: Local seismicity at Vailulu'u Seamount, Samoa

TitleSeafloor seismic monitoring of an active submarine volcano: Local seismicity at Vailulu'u Seamount, Samoa
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsKonter, JG, Staudigel, H, Hart, SR, Shearer, PM
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
KeywordsSamoa, seismic monitoring, submarine, Vailulu'u, volcanic activity, volcano

We deployed five ocean bottom hydrophones (OBHs) for a 1-year seismic monitoring study of Vailulu'u Seamount, the youngest and easternmost volcano in the Samoan Archipelago. Four instruments were placed on the summit crater rim at 600–700 m water depth, and one was placed inside the crater at 1000 m water depth. An analysis of the first 45 days of records shows a very large number of seismic events, 211 of them local. These events define a steady background activity of about four seismic events per day, increasing to about 10 events per day during a week of heightened seismic activity, which peaked at 40 events during 1 day. We identified 107 earthquakes, whose arrivals could be picked on all five stations and that are likely located within the seamount, based on their similar waveforms. Two linear trends are defined by 21 of these events. These are extremely well correlated and located, first downward then upward on a steeply inclined plane that is close to the axial plane of the southeast rift as it emerges from the main summit of Vailulu'u. These events resemble volcanotectonic earthquakes from subaerial volcanoes in displaying very coherent seismic waveforms and by showing systematic, narrowly defined progressions in hypocenter locations. We propose that these events reflect brittle rock failure due to magma redistribution in or near a central magma reservoir.


Scholarly Lite is a free theme, contributed to the Drupal Community by More than Themes.