Source models of long-period seismic events at Galeras volcano, Colombia

Roberto Torres, Hiroyuki Kumagai, Kimiko Taguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Long-period (LP) seismic events have occurred repeatedly at Galeras volcano, Colombia, during the transition from effusive dome formation to explosive Vulcanian eruptions. Since 1989, two types of LP events have been observed there: one characterized by long-lasting, decaying harmonic oscillations (NLP events) and the other by non-harmonic oscillatory features (BLP events). NLP events are attributed to resonances of a dusty gas-filled crack in the magma plugging the eruptive conduit. Sixteen episodes of NLP events occurred at Galeras during 1992-2010, each characterized by systematic temporal variations in the frequencies and quality factors of NLP events. Our and previous estimates of crack model parameters during three of those NLP episodes indicate that the similar temporal variations in crack geometry and fluid properties can be explained by an increase in the ash content within the crack and a decrease in crack volume. We found that NLP events, associated with low SO2 fluxes, are anticorrelated with BLP events, which are accompanied by high SO2 emissions. From our observations and analytical results, we inferred that BLP events are generated by resonances of open cracks in the uppermost magma plug, corresponding to tuffisite veins, that efficiently transfer volcanic gases. After sufficient degassing and densification, the magma plug effectively seals the conduit. The growing overpressure in the deeper magma is then released through a shear fracture along the conduit margin. The intrusion of deeper, vesiculated magma into the shear fracture depressurizes and fragments the magma, producing a dusty gas and triggering the crack resonances that generate NLP events. Our results thus indicate that the evolution of the properties of the magma plug controls the occurrences of BLP and NLP events at Galeras. Although NLP events do not always precede explosive eruptions, they indicate that an important overpressure is building in the shallow conduit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2137-2155
Number of pages19
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustic properties
  • Earthquake source observations
  • Eruption mechanisms and flow emplacement
  • Magma migration and fragmentation
  • South America
  • Volcano seismology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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