Graduation Year

2007

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.

Degree Granting Department

Geology

Major Professor

Charles Connor, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Diana Roman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mark Stewart, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sarah Kruse, Ph.D.

Keywords

hydrothermal system, fluid flow, diffuse degassing, mass flow, continuous monitoring

Abstract

Considerable effort worldwide has gone into monitoring heat and mass transfer at active volcanoes, as this information may provide clues about changes in volcanic activity and impending eruptions. One method used is the self-potential (SP) method, which has been employed on volcanoes to map hydrothermal systems and structural features and to monitor changes in the hydrothermal system due to volcanic activity. Continuous monitoring of SP has been employed on a few volcanoes and has produced encouraging results. This study presents new time series data collected from continuous monitoring stations at Masaya and Telica, and spatial series data from Masaya, Telica, and Cerro Negro, three active volcanoes in Nicaragua. The primary goals of this study were to determine whether correlations between SP anomalies and CO2 flux exist and to investigate temporal variations in temperature, SP, rainfall, and barometric pressure.

To achieve these goals, SP and CO2 flux surveys were conducted on Masaya, Telica, and Cerro Negro, and continuous monitoring stations were installed on Masaya and Telica. The continuous monitoring station on Masaya recorded temperature, SP, rainfall, and barometric pressure. The station on Telica recorded temperature and SP.

Profiles collected on Masaya and Cerro Negro show broad correlation between SP and CO2 flux. However, profiles on Telica revealed virtually no SP anomaly or CO2 flux for the majority of the profile, at the time of data collection. Data collected from the continuous monitoring station at Masaya showed a persistent positive SP anomaly that fluctuated between 60 and 240 mV. Rainfall was seen to supress the anomaly for time scales of several hours to several days. Correlations between temperature, SP, and barometric pressure were also seen at Masaya. Curiously, no increases in SP were seen during two temperature transients that occurred during volcanic activity in June and October. Continuous monitoring data from Telica showed only decreases in temperature and SP, which coincided with rainfall. The continuous monitoring data collected in this study and others have begun to provide a better understanding of the nature of SP anomalies, which may aid in the development of the SP method as a volcano monitoring tool.

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