Persistent shallow micro-seismicity at Llaima volcano, Chile, with implications for long-term monitoring

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Oliver Lamb , Jonathan M Lees , Luis Franco Marin, Jonathan Lazo, Andrés Rivera, Michael Shore, Stephen Lee


Identifying the source mechanisms of low-frequency earthquakes at ice-covered volcanoes can be challenging due to overlapping characteristics of glacially and magmatically derived seismicity. Here we present an analysis of two months of seismic data from Llaima volcano, Chile, recorded by the permanent monitoring network in 2019. We find over 2,000 repeating low-frequency events split across 82 families, the largest of which contains over 200 events. Estimated locations for the largest families indicate shallow sources directly beneath or near the edge of glaciers around the summit vent. These low-frequency earthquakes are part of an annual cycle in activity at the volcano that is strongly correlated with variations in atmospheric temperature, leading us to conclude that meltwater from ice and snow strongly affects the seismic source mechanisms which is likely dominated by basal slip beneath the glaciers. The results presented here should inform future assessments of eruptive potential at Llaima volcano, as well as other ice-covered volcanoes in Chile and worldwide.



Earth Sciences, Geophysics and Seismology, Glaciology, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Volcanology


Cryoseismology, Volcano-seismology, Llaima volcano


Published: 2021-11-01 21:57

Last Updated: 2021-11-01 21:59

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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