Associate Prof. Aitaro Kato receives Paper Award from The Volcanological Society of Japan

Associate Prof. Aitaro Kato received the Paper Award from The Volcanological Society of Japan.

Selected Paper: Preparatory and precursory processes leading up to the 2014 phreatic eruption of mount Ontake, Japan
(Earth, Planets and Space201567:111 DOI: 10.1186/s40623-015-0288-x)

Authors: Aitaro Kato, Toshiko Terakawa, Yoshiko Yamanaka, Yuta Maeda, Shinichiro Horikawa, Kenjiro Matsuhiro and Takashi Okuda

Abstract: We analyzed seismicity linked to the 2014 phreatic eruption of Mount Ontake, Japan, on 27 September 2014. We first relocated shallow volcano tectonic (VT) earthquakes and long-period (LP) events from August to September 2014. By applying a matched-filter technique to continuous waveforms using these relocated earthquakes, we detected numerous additional micro-earthquakes beneath the craters. The relocated VT earthquakes aligned on a near-vertical plane oriented NNW–SSE, suggesting they occurred around a conduit related to the intrusion of magmatic–hydrothermal fluids into the craters. The frequency of VT earthquakes gradually increased from 6 September 2014 and reached a peak on 11 September 2014. After the peak, seismicity levels remained elevated until the eruption. b-values gradually increased from 1.2 to 1.7 from 11 to 16 September 2014 then declined gradually and dropped to 0.8 just before the eruption. During the 10-min period immediately preceding the phreatic eruption, VT earthquakes migrated in the up-dip direction as well as laterally along the NNW–SSE feature. The migrating seismicity coincided with an accelerated increase of pre-eruptive tremor amplitude and with an anomalous tiltmeter signal that indicated summit upheaval. Therefore, the migrating seismicity suggests that the vertical conduit was filled with pressurized fluids, which rapidly propagated to the surface during the final 10 min before the eruption.