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Abstract

We show two examples of how integrated analysis of thermal and infrasound signal can be used to obtain, in real time, information on volcanic activity. Soufrière Hills Volcano (SHV) on Montserrat offers the opportunity to study a large variety of processes related to lava-dome activity, such as pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) and large Vulcanian eruptions. Infrasound and thermal analysis are used to constrain the propagation of PDCs and their velocities, which are calculated here to range between 15 and 75 m s−1. During the Vulcanian eruption of 5 February 2010, infrasound and thermal records allow us to identify an approximately 13 s seismic precursor possibly related to the pressurization of the conduit before the explosion onset. The associated very long period (VLP) seismic signal is correlated with the gas-thrust phase detected by thermal imagery, and may reflect a change in the upward momentum induced by the mass discharge. Moreover, from infrasound and thermal analysis, we estimate a gas-thrust phase lasting 22 s, with an initial plume velocity of approximately 170 m s−1 and a mean volumetric discharge rate of 0.3×105–9.2×105 m3 s−1. This information provided in real time gives important input parameters for modelling the tephra dispersal into the atmosphere.

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