Muon dynamic radiography of density changes induced by hydrothermal activity at the La Soufrière of Guadeloupe volcano

Abstract : Imaging geological structures through cosmic muon radiography is a newly developed technique particularly interesting in volcanology. Here we show that muon radiography may be efficient to detect and characterize mass movements in shallow hydrothermal systems of low-energy active volcanoes like the La Soufri\`ere lava dome. We present an experiment conducted on this volcano during the Summer $2014$ and bring evidence that huge density changes occurred in three domains of the lava dome. Depending on their position and on the medium porosity the volumes of these domains vary from $1 \times 10^6 \; \mathrm{m}^3$ to $7 \times 10^6 \; \mathrm{m}^3$. However, the mass changes remain quite constant, two of them being negative ($\Delta m \approx -0.6 \times 10^9 \; \mathrm{kg}$) and a third one being positive ($\Delta m \approx +2 \times 10^9 \; \mathrm{kg}$). We attribute the negative mass changes to the formation of steam in shallow hydrothermal reservoir previously partly filled with liquid water. This coincides with the apparition of new fumaroles on top of the volcano. The positive mass change is synchronized with the negative mass changes indicating that liquid water probably flowed from the two reservoirs invaded by steam toward the third reservoir.
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Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2016, 6, pp.33406. 〈10.1038/srep33406〉
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Kevin Jourde, Dominique Gibert, Jacques Marteau, Jean De Bremond d'Ars, Jean-Christophe Komorowski. Muon dynamic radiography of density changes induced by hydrothermal activity at the La Soufrière of Guadeloupe volcano. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2016, 6, pp.33406. 〈10.1038/srep33406〉. 〈in2p3-01330121〉

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