Unusual seismic signals associated with the activity at Galeras volcano, Colombia, from July 1992 to September 1994

R. A. Torres C., D. M. Gómez M., L. Narvàez M.


After the emplacement of a lava dome at Galeras volcano in 1991, seven eruptions occurred from July 16, 1992, to September 23, 1994, six of which were preceded by quasi-monochromatic, long-duration seismic events with slowly decaying coda named «tornillos» (screws). The dominant frequencies of these unusual seismic signals are related to source characteristics and show temporal changes, diminishing and then tending to stabilize before an eruption. At the same time, the accumulated number and the duration of these signals increase several days prior to the eruption. The increase in the duration of the tornillo events and the decline of the dominant frequencies both suggest an increasing impedance contrast between the surrounding solid material and the fluid. These characteristics may be associated with an increase in the free gas phase in the magma produced by saturation of volatiles due to cooling, crystallization and partial solidification of the column of magma plugging the conduits. The solidified magma can contribute to sealing the conduits and preventing free gas escape, with consequent generation of overpressure. An eruption is initiated when the overpressure exceeds the resistance strength of the solid material.


Galeras;tornillo events;seismic signals;eruptions

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-3975
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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X