Volcanic tremor of the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption

Ásdís Benediktsdóttir*, Ólafur Gudmundsson, Ka Lok Li, Bryndís Brandsdóttir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Volcanic eruptions in Iceland generally start with an increase in tremor levels. These signals do not have clear onset, like many earthquakes. As the character of the tremor signal is variable from one volcano to another, locating the source of the tremor signal may require different techniques for different volcanoes. Continuous volcanic tremor varied considerably during the course of the Eyjafjallajökull summit eruption, 14 April to 22 May 2010, and was clearly associated with changes in eruptive style. The tremor frequencies ranged between 0.5 and 10 Hz, with increased vigour during an effusive and explosive phase, in comparison with purely explosive phases. Higher-frequency tremor bursts early in the eruption were caused by processes at the eruption site. Location of the tremor using a method based on differential phase information extracted from interstation correlograms showed the tremor to be stable near the eruption vent, through time, for signals between 0.5 and 2 Hz. Analyses of power variations of the vertical component of the tremor with distance from the eruption site are consistent with tremor waveform content being dominated by surface waves in the 0.5-2 Hz frequency range. The tremor source depth was argued to be shallow, less than about 1 km. The attenuation quality factor (Q) was found to be on the order of Q = 10-20 for paths in the area around Eyjafjallajökull and Q = 20-50 for paths outside the volcano. The pattern of radiated wave energy from the tremor source varied with time, defining ten different epochs during the eruption. Thus the tremor-source radiation did not remain isotropic, which needs to be considered when locating tremor based on amplitude, that is azimuthally variable source radiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1015-1037
Number of pages23
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society.

Other keywords

  • Seismic attenuation
  • Volcanic hazards and risks
  • Volcano seismology


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