MSU alumnus Dr. John Lyons, BS Geology-2002, will join us from Anchorage, Alaska, where he is currently a volcano geophysicist at the USGS Alaska Volcano Observatory. His presentation will discuss how erupting volcanoes produce low-frequency sound (or infrasound) when they disturb the atmosphere. Volcanologists use these signals to monitor and study volcanic activity.
Alaska has more than 50 volcanoes spread over the 2,500 km Aleutian Arc with historical activity which presents unique monitoring challenges to the U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO). Infrasound from energetic volcanic eruptions can propagate hundreds of kilometers from the source and be recorded on sensitive microphones, providing a powerful tool to detect and monitor activity remotely. Recent improvements in instrumentation and data processing have led to rapid growth and modernization of the infrasound network in Alaska, leading to some surprising and exciting discoveries about how volcanoes generate infrasound. Here he will provide an overview of how volcanoes produce infrasound and how AVO uses infrasound signals to detect, monitor, and study volcanic eruptions with highlights from recent activity. Examples will include efforts to apply lessons learned from volcano monitoring to large, potential tsunamigenic landslides.