We have implemented a method based on an unsupervised neural network to cluster the waveforms of very-long-period (VLP) events associated with explosive activity at the Stromboli volcano (southern Italy). Stromboli has several active vents in the summit area producing together more than 200 explosions/day. We applied this method to investigate the relationship between each vent and its associated VLP explosive waveform.

We selected 147 VLP events recorded between November and December 2005, when digital infrared camera recordings were available. From a visual inspection of the infrared camera images, we classified the VLPs on the basis of which vent produced each explosion. We then applied the self-organizing map (SOM), an unsupervised neural technique widely applied in data exploratory analysis, to cluster the VLPs on the basis of their waveform similarity.

Our analysis demonstrates that the most recurrent VLP waveforms are usually generated by the same vent. Some exceptions occurred, however, in which different waveforms are associated with the same vent, as well as different vents generating similar waveforms. This suggests that the geometry of the upper conduit-vent system plays a role in shaping the recurring VLP events, whereas occasional modest changes in the source process dynamics produce the observed exceptions.

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