Bulletin of Volcanology

, 81:63 | Cite as

Comparison of short-term seismic precursors and explosion parameters during the 2016–2017 Bogoslof eruption

  • Gabrielle TeppEmail author
  • Matthew M. Haney
Research Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. The 2016-17 shallow submarine eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska


In December 2016, the unmonitored Bogoslof volcano unexpectedly began erupting, producing at least 70 explosions over the next 8.5 months. Roughly half of the explosions were preceded by observable short-term precursory activity, defined here as seismic activity ending within 30 min of the explosion onset or an earthquake swarm ending within a few hours before the explosion onset. Five different types of precursors were noted during the Bogoslof eruption: non-swarm earthquakes, earthquake swarms, rapid rate events, tremor, and chromatic tremor. Most of the precursors that were detectable by the nearby seismic networks (> 45 km away) occurred during the first 3 months of the eruption, with nearly all precursory earthquake swarms occurring during this period. A hydrophone deployed ~ 7 km northeast of the summit for the last 3 months of the eruption detected weaker activity that was not recorded by the more distant seismic networks. We describe the observed precursors and discuss their inter-relations. Overall, the precursors seem indicative of processes occurring throughout the volcanic system and suggest possible changes in the system during the eruption. We then compare the short-term precursors with explosion parameters, such as plume height, duration, and occurrence of lightning, to look for relations that may provide more insight into the eruption dynamics and subsurface processes and help to further improve forecasting. We find no obvious relations between any of the precursor or explosion parameters, suggesting that their use in forecasting eruption characteristics at Bogoslof is limited.


Volcano seismology Explosion precursors Earthquake swarms Tremor Glides Bogoslof 



Many thanks to the Alaska Volcano Observatory staff and others who helped with the instrumentation, the data analysis, and many discussions about this eruption. Many thanks also to Bob Dziak, Joe Haxel, and the NOAA PMEL staff who made the hydrophone deployment and data analysis possible. Seismic data are available from the IRIS Data Management Center. The hydrophone data are available from the NOAA Pacific Marine Environment Lab. Some figures were made with the GISMO Toolbox for MATLAB (Thompson and Reyes 2018). Thanks to Jay Wellik and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on the manuscript. GT was supported by the U.S. Geological Survey Mendenhall Program. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Supplementary material

445_2019_1323_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (25 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 25 kb)


  1. Amitrano D, Grasso JR., Senfaute G (2005) Seismic precursory patterns before a cliff collapse and critical point phenomena. Geophys Res Lett 32(8).
  2. Brenguier F, Shapiro NM, Campillo M, Ferrazzini V, Duputel Z, Coutant O, Nercessian A (2008) Towards forecasting volcanic eruptions using seismic noise. Nat Geosci 1(2):126–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Buurman, H., & West, M.E. (2010). Seismic precursors to volcanic explosions during the 2006 eruption of Augustine volcano, in Power, J.A., Coombs, M.L., and Freymueller, J.T., eds., The 2006 eruption of Augustine Volcano, Alaska, U.S. Geol Surv Prof Pap 1769, 41–57,
  4. Caplan-Auerbach J, Huggel C (2007) Precursory seismicity associated with frequent, large ice avalanches on Iliamna volcano, Alaska, USA. J Glaciol 53(180):128–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chouet B (1988) Resonance of a fluid-driven crack: radiation properties and implications for the source of long-period events and harmonic tremor. J Geophys Res Solid Earth 93(B5):4375–4400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chouet B (1996) New methods and future trends in seismological volcano monitoring. In: Scarpa R, Tilling RI (eds) Monitoring and mitigation of volcano hazards. Springer, New York, pp 23–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chouet BA, Matoza RS (2013) A multi-decadal view of seismic methods for detecting precursors of magma movement and eruption. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 252:108–175. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chouet BA, Page RA, Stephens CD, Lahr JC, Power JA (1994) Precursory swarms of long-period events at Redoubt Volcano (1989–1990), Alaska: their origin and use as a forecasting tool. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 62(1–4):95–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Collombet M, Grasso JR, Ferrazzini V (2003) Seismicity rate before eruptions on Piton de la Fournaise volcano: implications for eruption dynamics. Geophys Res Lett 30(21):2099.
  10. Coombs ML, Wech A, Haney M, Lyons J, Schneider DJ, Schwaiger H, Wallace K, Fee D, Freymueller J, Schaefer J, Tepp G (2018) Short-term forecasting and detection of explosions during the 2016–2017 eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska. Front Earth Sci 6:122. Scholar
  11. Coombs ML, Wallace K, Cameron C, Angeli K, Cervelli P (2019) Overview, chronology, and impacts of the 2016-2017 eruption of Bogoslof volcano. Bulletin of Volcanology.
  12. De Angelis S, McNutt SR (2007) Observations of volcanic tremor during the January–February 2005 eruption of Mt. Veniaminof, Alaska. Bull Volcanol 69:927. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dmitrieva K, Hotovec-Ellis AJ, Prejean S, Dunham EM (2013) Frictional-faulting model for harmonic tremor before Redoubt Volcano eruptions. Nat Geosci 6(8):652–656CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dziak RP (2001) Empirical relationship of T-wave energy and fault parameters of Northeast Pacific Ocean earthquakes. Geophys Res Lett 28(13):2537–2540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dziak RP, Park M, Matsumoto H, Byun S-K (2005) Hydroacoustic records and a numerical model of the source mechanism from the first historical eruption of Anatahan Volcano, Mariana Islands. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 146:86–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dzurisin D (2003) A comprehensive approach to monitoring volcano deformation as a window on the eruption cycle. Rev Geophys 41:1001. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fee D, Lyons JJ, Haney MM, Wech A, Waythomas CF, Diefenbach A, Lopez TM, Van Eaton AR, Schneider DJ (2019) Seismo-acoustic evidence for vent drying during shallow submarine eruptions at Bogolsof volcano, Alaska. Bull Volcanol
  18. Fujita E, Ida Y, Oikawa J (1995) Eigen oscillation of a fluid sphere and source mechanism of harmonic volcanic tremor. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 69(3–4):365–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Goto A (1999) A new model for volcanic earthquake at Unzen Volcano: melt rupture model. Geophys Res Lett 26(16):2541–2544. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Green DN, Evers LG, Fee D, Matoza RS, Snellen M, Smets P, Simons D (2013) Hydroacoustic, infrasonic and seismic monitoring of the submarine eruptive activity and sub-aerial plume generation at South Sarigan, May 2010. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 257:31–43. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hammer C, Neuberg JW (2009) On the dynamical behaviour of low-frequency earthquake swarms prior to a dome collapse of Soufrière Hill volcano, Montserrat. Geophys Res Lett 36(6).
  22. Haney MM, Van Eaton AR, Lyons JJ, Kramer RL, Fee D, Iezzi AM, Dziak RP, Anderson J, Johnson JB, Lapierre JL (2019) Characteristics of thunder and electromagnetic pulses from volcanic lightning at Bogoslof Volcano. Bull Volcanol (part of the Bogoslof Topical Collection)Google Scholar
  23. Harlow DH, Power JA, Laguerta EP, Ambubuyog G, White RA, Hoblitt RP (1996) Precursory seismicity and forecasting of the June 15, 1991, eruption of Mount Pinatubo. Fire and Mud: eruptions and lahars of Mount Pinatubo, Philippines, 223–247Google Scholar
  24. Hellweg M (2000) Physical models for the source of Lascar’s harmonic tremor. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 101(1–2):183–198. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hotovec AJ, Prejean SG, Vidale JE, Gomberg J (2013) Strongly gliding harmonic tremor during the 2009 eruption of Redoubt Volcano. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 259:89–99. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Iverson RM, Dzurisin D, Gardner CA, Gerlach TM, LaHusen RG, Lisowski M, Major JJ, Malone SD, Messerich JA, Moran SC, Pallister JS (2006) Dynamics of seismogenic volcanic extrusion at Mount St Helens in 2004–05. Nature 444(7118):439–443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Johnson JB, Lees JM (2000) Plugs and chugs—seismic and acoustic observations of degassing explosions at Karymsky, Russia and Sangay, Ecuador. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 101(1–2):67–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kendrick JE, Lavallée Y, Hirose T, Di Toro G, Hornby AJ, De Angelis S, Dingwell DB (2014) Volcanic drumbeat seismicity caused by stick-slip motion and magmatic frictional melting. Nat Geosci 7(6):438–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ketner D, Power J (2013) Characterization of seismic events during the 2009 eruption of Redoubt Volcano, Alaska. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 259:45–62. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lavallée Y, Meredith PG, Dingwell DB, Hess KU, Wassermann J, Cordonnier B, Gerik A, Kruhl JH (2008) Seismogenic lavas and explosive eruption forecasting. Nature 453(7194):507–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lesage P, Surono (1995) Seismic precursors of the February 10, 1990 eruption of Kelut volcano, Java. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 65(1–2):135–146. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lesage P, Mora MM, Alvarado GE, Pacheco J, Métaxian JP (2006) Complex behavior and source model of the tremor at Arenal volcano, Costa Rica. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 157(1–3):49–59. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lopez T, Clarisse L, Schwaiger HF, Van Eaton AR, Loewen MW, Fee D, Lyons JJ, Haney MM, Wallace KL, Searcy C, Wech AG, Schneider DJ, Graham N (2019) Constraints on eruption processes and event masses for the 2016-2017 eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska, through evaluation of IASI satellite SO2 masses and complementary datasets. Bull Volcanol (part of the Bogoslof Topical Collection)Google Scholar
  34. Lyons JJ, Fee D, Haney MM, Iezzi A (2019) Infrasound generated by the shallow submarine eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska. Bull Volcanol (part of the Bogoslof Topical Collection)Google Scholar
  35. Nakada S, Shimizu H, Ohta K (1999) Overview of the 1990–1995 eruption at Unzen volcano. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 89:1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Neuberg J, Baptie B, Luckett R, Stewart R (1998) Results from the broadband seismic network on Montserrat. Geophys Res Lett 25(19):3661–3664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Neuberg JW, Tuffen H, Collier L, Green D, Powell T, Dingwell D (2006) The trigger mechanism of low-frequency earthquakes on Montserrat. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 153(1–2):37–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Neuberg J, Luckett R, Baptie B, Olsen K (2000) Models of tremor and low-frequency earthquake swarms on Montserrat. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 101(1–2):83–104. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Poli P (2017) Creep and slip: seismic precursors to the Nuugaatsiaq landslide (Greenland). Geophys Res Lett 44(17):8832–8836CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Powell TW, Neuberg J (2003) Time dependent features in tremor spectra. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 128(1–3):177–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ratdomopurbo A, Poupinet G (1995) Monitoring a temporal change of seismic velocity in a volcano: application to the 1992 eruption of Mt. Merapi (Indonesia). Geophys Res Lett 22(7):775–778CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Roult G, Peltier A, Taisne B, Staudacher T, Ferrazzini V, Di Muro A (2012) A new comprehensive classification of the Piton de la Fournaise activity spanning the 1985–2010 period. Search and analysis of short-term precursors from a broad-band seismological station. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 241:78–104. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schlindwein V, Wassermann J, Scherbaum F (1995) Spectral analysis of harmonic tremor signals at Mt. Semeru volcano, Indonesia. Geophysical Research Letters, 22(13), 1685–1688CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Schneider D, Van Eaton A, Wallace K (2019) Satellite Observations of the 2016-17 Eruption of Bogoslof volcano: Aviation and Ash Fallout Hazard Implications from a Water-Rich Eruption. Bull Volcanol (part of the Bogoslof Topical Collection)Google Scholar
  45. Searcy C, Power J (2019) Progression and character of explosive activity during the 2016–17 eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska. Bull Volcanol (part of the Bogoslof Topical Collection)Google Scholar
  46. Stephens CD, Chouet BA (2001) Evolution of the December 14, 1989 precursory long-period event swarm at Redoubt Volcano, Alaska. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 109(1–3):133–148. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Swanson DA, Casadevall TJ, Dzurisin D, Malone SD, Newhall CG, Weaver CS (1983) Predicting eruptions at Mount St. Helens, June 1980 through December 1982. Science 221(4618):1369–1376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Tepp G (2018) A repeating event sequence alarm for monitoring volcanoes. Seismol Res Lett 89(5):1863–1876. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Tepp G, Dziak R, Haney MM, Lyons JJ, Searcy C, Matsumoto H, Haxel J (2019) Seismic and hydroacoustic observations of the 2016-17 Bogoslof eruption. Bull Volcanol (part of the Bogoslof Topical Collection)Google Scholar
  50. Thompson G, Reyes C (2018) GISMO—a seismic data analysis toolbox for MATLAB [software package],, Accessed Feb 2018
  51. Van Eaton AR, Schneider DJ, Smith CM, Haney MM, Lyons JJ, Said R, Fee D, Holzworth RH, Mastin LG (2019) Did ice-charging generate volcanic lightning during the 2016–2017 eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska? Bull Volcanol (part of the Bogoslof Topical Collection)Google Scholar
  52. Waythomas CF, Cameron CE (2018) Historical eruptions and hazards at Bogoslof volcano, Alaska. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5085, 42 p.,
  53. Waythomas C, Angeli K, Wessels R, Schneider D (2019) 2016-17 evolution of the submarine-subaerial edifice of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska, based on analysis of satellite imagery. Bull Volcanol (part of the Bogoslof Topical Collection)Google Scholar
  54. Wech A, Tepp G, Lyons J, Haney M (2018) Using earthquakes, T waves, and infrasound to investigate the eruption of Bogoslof volcano, Alaska. Geophys Res Lett 45(14): 6918–6925.Google Scholar
  55. Wegler U, Lühr B-G, Snieder R, Ratdomopurbo A (2006) Increase of shear wave velocity before the 1998 eruption of Merapi volcano (Indonesia). Geophys Res Lett 33:L09303. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. White R, McCausland W (2016) Volcano-tectonic earthquakes: a new tool for estimating intrusive volumes and forecasting eruptions. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 309:139–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Yang Y, Forsyth DW (2003) Improving epicentral and magnitude estimation of earthquakes from T phases by considering the excitation function. Bull Seismol Soc Am 93(5):2106–2122CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Volcano ObservatoryAnchorageUSA

Personalised recommendations