Mechanisms of Unrest and Eruption at Persistently Restless Volcanoes: Insights From the 2015 Eruption of Telica Volcano, Nicaragua

Diana C. Roman, Peter C. LaFemina, Rebecca Bussard, Kirsten Stephens, Christelle Wauthier, Machel Higgins, Maureen Feineman, Santiago Arellano, J. Maarten de Moor, Geoffroy Avard, Maria Martinez Cruz, Mike Burton, Matthew Varnam, Armando Saballos, Martha Ibarra, Wilfried Strauch, Virginia Tenorio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Many of Earth's volcanoes experience well-defined states of “quiescence” and “unrest,” with unrest occasionally culminating in eruption. Some volcanoes, however, experience an unusually protracted (i.e., decades-long) period of noneruptive unrest and are thus categorized as “persistently restless volcanoes” (PRVs). The processes that drive persistently restless volcanism are poorly understood, as our knowledge of PRVs is currently based on a small number of case studies. Here we examine multidisciplinary observations of the 2015 eruptive episode at Telica Volcano, Nicaragua, in the context of its long-term behavior. We suggest that the latter phases of the 2015 eruption were ultimately driven by destabilization of its shallow magma reservoir. Based on previous geodetic-seismic studies of Telica (Geirsson et al., 2014, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2013.11.009; Rodgers et al., 2013, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2013.08.010 and 2015, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2014.11.012) and on multiparameter observations at Telica over a 7-year period, we propose that three distinct states of unrest occur at Telica over decadal timescales: a stable open state involving steady conduit convection and two distinct “unstable” states that may lead to eruptions. In the “weak sealing” state, phreatic explosions result from steady conduit convection underlying a weak seal. In the “destabilized” state, destabilization of the top of the convecting magma in the conduit leads to rapid accumulation of high pressures leading to strong/impulsive phreatomagmatic explosions. Our observations and interpretations suggest that continuous seismic, ground-based deformation, gas emission, and thermal monitoring and interpretation of these data within a paradigm of sustained conduit convection modulated by episodes of sealing and destabilization of shallow magma reservoirs may allow robust forecasting of eruption potential, energy, and duration at Telica and similar PRVs worldwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4162-4183
Number of pages22
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Volume20
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

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Nicaragua
Volcanoes
volcanoes
volcanic eruptions
volcano
volcanic eruption
destabilization
magma
convection
sealing
magma chamber
Explosions
explosions
explosion
Potential energy
potential energy
Gas emissions
forecasting
Seals
volcanism

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

Cite this

Roman, Diana C. ; LaFemina, Peter C. ; Bussard, Rebecca ; Stephens, Kirsten ; Wauthier, Christelle ; Higgins, Machel ; Feineman, Maureen ; Arellano, Santiago ; de Moor, J. Maarten ; Avard, Geoffroy ; Cruz, Maria Martinez ; Burton, Mike ; Varnam, Matthew ; Saballos, Armando ; Ibarra, Martha ; Strauch, Wilfried ; Tenorio, Virginia. / Mechanisms of Unrest and Eruption at Persistently Restless Volcanoes : Insights From the 2015 Eruption of Telica Volcano, Nicaragua. In: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. 2019 ; Vol. 20, No. 8. pp. 4162-4183.
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Roman, DC, LaFemina, PC, Bussard, R, Stephens, K, Wauthier, C, Higgins, M, Feineman, M, Arellano, S, de Moor, JM, Avard, G, Cruz, MM, Burton, M, Varnam, M, Saballos, A, Ibarra, M, Strauch, W & Tenorio, V 2019, 'Mechanisms of Unrest and Eruption at Persistently Restless Volcanoes: Insights From the 2015 Eruption of Telica Volcano, Nicaragua', Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, vol. 20, no. 8, pp. 4162-4183. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GC008450

Mechanisms of Unrest and Eruption at Persistently Restless Volcanoes : Insights From the 2015 Eruption of Telica Volcano, Nicaragua. / Roman, Diana C.; LaFemina, Peter C.; Bussard, Rebecca; Stephens, Kirsten; Wauthier, Christelle; Higgins, Machel; Feineman, Maureen; Arellano, Santiago; de Moor, J. Maarten; Avard, Geoffroy; Cruz, Maria Martinez; Burton, Mike; Varnam, Matthew; Saballos, Armando; Ibarra, Martha; Strauch, Wilfried; Tenorio, Virginia.

In: Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, Vol. 20, No. 8, 01.08.2019, p. 4162-4183.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T2 - Insights From the 2015 Eruption of Telica Volcano, Nicaragua

AU - Roman, Diana C.

AU - LaFemina, Peter C.

AU - Bussard, Rebecca

AU - Stephens, Kirsten

AU - Wauthier, Christelle

AU - Higgins, Machel

AU - Feineman, Maureen

AU - Arellano, Santiago

AU - de Moor, J. Maarten

AU - Avard, Geoffroy

AU - Cruz, Maria Martinez

AU - Burton, Mike

AU - Varnam, Matthew

AU - Saballos, Armando

AU - Ibarra, Martha

AU - Strauch, Wilfried

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