Eruptions problem set
The following is a short problem set that will allow you to explore the various real-time monitoring datasets that are used at Kilauea volcano. I am more interested in you being able to interact with the visualization software and getting a grasp of what instrumentation is deployed, what it measures, why it is important, and how the various measurements work together to give scientists a picture of the overall state of the volcano. I am less concerned with you being able to define each bump and wiggle that you might see.
Kilauea Volcanism Problem Set
The goal of this problem set is for you to:
- read a report detailing recent eruptive activity at Kilauea volcano.
- predict hypothetical instrument responses to certain volcanic activities
- calculate the rate of magma movement based on measured seismicity
- use the real-time volcano monitoring tools made available through the VEPP Web site to discover and describe an inflation-deflation event measured at Pu'u O'o.
Part 1, reading and questions
Read this paper, available through Library e-Reserves. This paper is a report of some sustained eruptive activity that occurred on Kilauea and its East Rift Zone during the summer of 2007. The activity was recorded by a wide variety of geological, geophysical, and geochemical monitoring instruments, the details of which are discussed in the paper. If you are unfamiliar with any or all of the types of instrumentation described, this paper may seem dense. My advice when reading is to try to focus on the space-time sequence of events, rather than the specifics of the instrumentation. In addition, you may want to go back one page in this lesson to refresh your memory of what each type of instrument measures. Perusing my follow-up questions first will help focus your reading.
Poland, M., A. Miklius, T. Orr, J. Sutton, C. Thornber, and D. Wilson, 2008. New Episodes of Volcanism at Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii, Eos 89, 37-38.
Answer the following questions in the same document you started for the eruptions problem set on page 6 of this lesson.
- Look at Figure 2 of Poland et al., 2008. Find the summit caldera. Find the three instruments UWE, UWEV, and AHUP. UWE is a tiltmeter. UWEV and AHUP are GPS stations. If the summit were inflating with magma, would you expect UWEV and AHUP to get closer together or farther apart? Why? If the summit were inflating, in what direction would UWE tilt? Why?
- This question is just hypothetical! It is not directly related to the paper you read. Draw a sketch of the expected signal during a hypothetical summit caldera inflation and subsequent eruption. The blue sketch below shows the hypothetical caldera for this problem. A and B are both GPS stations and C is a tiltmeter. The triangle is the caldera summit. On the blank axes, time is on the x axis and distance is on the y axis for the GPS signal. Time is on the x axis and angle is on the y axis for tilt. The vertical dotted lines mark the beginning of caldera inflation and the beginning of the eruption. To make your drawing, download the drawing tool. In the drawing tool, drag the mouse to draw. When you are done, press the button in the top left corner to save your plot. Paste the plot into your problem set document. I am not looking for correct units, this is just a sketch.
- Calculate magma flow speed based on earthquake locations given in the bottom panel of Figure 3B of Poland et al., 2008. Speed should be calculated over the time period spanned by the episodes labeled T1 - T5. Note the scale bar of 1 km given in the lower corner of the plot. When you write your answer to this question, please lead me through your logic. You will have to make some choices about how to estimate times and distances, and I want to hear your explanation of how you chose to do this.
Part 2, use the VALVE3 software
- Read the description of a deflation-inflation event provided at the VEPP Web site. Note the flash animation of the physical changes on the volcano during one of these events, and the corresponding instrument signals.
- Read through the user's guide for the VALVE user interface. This is the program you will use to interact with the instrument data.
- Go to the VALVE user interface.
- There was a fissure eruption in March of 2011. I want you to use GPS, tilt and RSAM data to find it and describe it. Note that you will have to do a little digging around to ascertain which instruments have data available during 2011. This is part of the real fun of using real scientific data that hasn't been sanitized for "educational purposes"! Post to the Questions discussion board if you get stuck! Answer the following questions about the eruption:
- Paste in your plots of the seismic, GPS, and tilt data for the March 2011 eruption (three plots).
- Lead me through the time series of the eruption as recorded by the instruments (i.e., Which instrument records the signal first?, then what happens, are there any simultaneous excursions from "normal background" recorded by different instruments? How long does the whole thing last? How did you determine when it was "over?")
- Describe what you think is happening physically to the volcano over the course of the eruption based on the instrument record. Pay attention to the location of the instruments you chose with respect to the volcano so that you can describe whether the volcano is inflating or deflating by looking at the direction and angle of any motion recorded.
- Find webcam records that correspond to this eruption. Does the view from the webcam confirm your description of what you thought was happening physically? If so, lead me through a what you see and how it correlates to the instrument records you found earlier. If not, discuss possible reasons why not.
- Since the VEPP program is a new initiative, I and the USGS would appreciate some feedback about their site. Please take the time to answer the following questions: How long did it take you to familiarize yourself with the different types of monitoring devices at Pu'u O'o and what they measure? How long did it take you to figure out how to use the VALVE interface? When you were using the VALVE interface, did you try to do things that didn't work (be specific)? After this exercise, do you have a sense that you basically "get it", or are you confused about the data you were looking at?
Submitting your work
Upload the document (.doc, .pages. or .pdf) containing both your earlier work from the Global Volcanism Program and the work you just did with Kilauea to the L6 - Eruptions problem set assignment folder in ANGEL by the due date specified on the first page of this lesson.
I will use my general grading rubric for problem sets to grade this activity.