EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Decrease in Volcano Jet Noise Peak Frequency from Crater Expansion

Kathleen McKee1, Eveanjelene Snee2, Sean Maher3, Cassandra Smith4, Kevin Reath5, Diana Roman1, Robin S. Matoza3, Simon Carn6, Larry Mastin7, Kyle Anderson8, David Damby8, Anna Perttu9, Jelle Assink10, Rodrigo de Negri Leiva3,11, Artem Degterev12, Alexander Rybin12, Marina Chibisova12, Ima Itikarai13, Kila Mulina13, and Steve Saunders13
Kathleen McKee et al.
  • 1Earth and Planets Laboratory, Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington, DC, USA (
  • 2School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, UK
  • 3Department of Earth Science and Earth Research Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA, USA
  • 4Alaska Volcano Observatory, Anchorage, AK, USA
  • 5Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
  • 6Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI, USA
  • 7U.S.Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory, Vancouver, WA, USA
  • 8U.S. Geological Survey, California Volcano Observatory, Moffett Field, CA, USA
  • 9Earth Observatory of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • 10R&D Seismology and Acoustics Department, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), De Bilt, Netherlands
  • 11NDC-CTBT of the Chilean Nuclear Energy Commission, Chile
  • 12akhalin Volcanic Eruptions Response Team (SVERT), Institute of Marine Geology and Geophysics, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia
  • 13Rabaul Volcano Observatory, Department of Mining and Petroleum, Geological Survey of Papua New Guinea, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

Volcanic jet noise is the sound, often below the human audible range (<20 Hz and termed infrasound), generated by momentum-driven fluid flow through a volcanic vent. Assuming the self-similarity of jet flows and audible jet noise extends to infrasonic volcanic jet noise, the Strouhal number, St=Djf/Uj, connects frequency changes, f, to changes in the jet length (expanded jet diameter, Dj) and/or velocity scale (jet velocity, Uj). We examine the infrasound signal characteristics from the June 2019 VEI 4 eruptions of Raikoke, Kuril Islands and Ulawun, Papua New Guinea volcanoes with changes in crater geometry. We use data from the International Monitoring System (IMS) infrasound network and pre- and post-eruption satellite data (RADARSAT-2 and PlanetScope imaging for Raikoke and Ulawun, respectively). During both eruptions we observe a decrease in infrasound peak frequency during the transition to a Plinian phase, which remains through the end of the eruptions. The RADARSAT-2 data show a qualitative increase in the crater area at Raikoke; quantitative analysis is limited by shadows. At Ulawun, however, we estimate an increase in crater area from ~35,000 m2 on May 25, 2019 to ~66,000 m2 on July 17, 2019. We assume a constant Strouhal number and use the crater diameter as a proxy for expanded jet diameter. Our analysis suggests that the increase in crater diameter alone cannot account for the decrease in peak frequency during the Ulawun eruption. This suggests that the jet velocity also increased, which fits satellite data, and or the fluid properties (e.g. particle loading, nozzle geometry and roughness, etc.) changed. This is reasonable as the Ulawun eruption went Plinian, which likely involved an increase in jet velocity and erosion of the crater walls. This is the first study to corroborate the decrease in infrasound peak frequency with documented increase in crater area. The fortuitous satellite overpass timing, clear skies, and high spatial resolution enabled the quantitative examination of the Ulawun eruption.

How to cite: McKee, K., Snee, E., Maher, S., Smith, C., Reath, K., Roman, D., Matoza, R. S., Carn, S., Mastin, L., Anderson, K., Damby, D., Perttu, A., Assink, J., de Negri Leiva, R., Degterev, A., Rybin, A., Chibisova, M., Itikarai, I., Mulina, K., and Saunders, S.: Decrease in Volcano Jet Noise Peak Frequency from Crater Expansion, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6746,, 2021.

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