- Open Access
Shallow pressure sources associated with the 2007 and 2014 phreatic eruptions of Mt. Ontake, Japan
© The Author(s) 2016
- Received: 9 March 2016
- Accepted: 20 July 2016
- Published: 29 July 2016
We modeled pressure sources under Mount Ontake volcano, Japan, on the basis of global navigation satellite system (GNSS) observations of ground deformation during the time period including the 2007 and 2014 phreatic eruptions. The total change in volume in two sources below sea level in the period including the 2007 eruption was estimated from GNSS network observations to be 6 × 106 m3. Additionally, data from a GNSS campaign survey yielded an estimated volume change of 0.28 × 106 m3 in a shallower source just beneath the volcanic vents. The 2007 eruption may have been activated by magmatic activity at depth. During the 2014 eruption, the volume change at depth was very small. However, tiltmeter data indicated inflation from a shallow source that began 7 min before the eruption, representing a volume change estimated to be 0.38 × 106 m3. We infer that the potential for subsurface hydrothermal activity may have remained high after the 2007 eruption.
- Mt. Ontake
- Phreatic eruption
- Pressure source
Mount Ontake volcano, a 3067-m volcano in central Honshu Island, Japan, has had two phreatic eruptions in recent years that were accompanied by ground deformation. Even though a phreatic eruption does not produce lava, it can cause multiple casualties to hikers during the popular mountaineering seasons. For this reason, it is important to study the shallow pressure sources beneath active volcanoes that can produce phreatic eruptions.
A very small eruption in late March of 2007 resulted in no casualties; however, an eruption on September 27, 2014, killed 63 people. The 2014 eruption was an isolated phreatic eruption that created a small pyroclastic flow, but there was no ejecta or flow of lava. The eruption plume reached an estimated 10,000 m above sea level (Meteorological Research Institute 2016). The volume of the eruptive products was estimated to be 0.3–0.5 × 106 m3 dense rock equivalent (DRE) from a field survey conducted after the 2014 eruption (Maeno et al. 2016), but no obvious ground deformation was detected on the day of the eruption.
It is difficult to detect ground deformation prior to phreatic eruptions because they can occur without obvious magma migration. However, ground deformation caused by shallow pressure sources associated with phreatic or possible phreatic eruptions has been observed in some cases (e.g., Takagi 2013; Yoshida et al. 2012). In this paper, we report evidence on shallow pressure sources associated with the 2007 and 2014 eruptions of Mt. Ontake.
The geodetic coordinates of GEONET stations are analyzed by GSI using precise ephemeris data, and they are generally provided in a form called the F3 final solution (Nakagawa et al. 2009). The JMANET system, which consists of single-frequency-receiver stations, except for JMA510, is independent from the nationwide GEONET system. The raw data of both JMANET and GEONET stations were analyzed so that coordinates based on JMANET were connected to GEONET. We recalculated the coordinate of JMA510 referred to GSI0614 and GSI0988 by double-frequency analysis, and we also did the coordinates of JMA511 and JMA512 referred to JMA510 by single-frequency analysis, using the GNSS analysis software Bernese Ver. 5.0 (Dach et al. 2007). The relative coordinates of the JMANET stations were connected to the F3 final solution of GEONET.
Source parameters were calculated by an inversion analysis using the formulas of Mogi (1958) and Okada (1992) and assuming an analytical region consisting of an elastic half-space. However, given the rugged topography, there are large differences of elevation among the GNSS stations. Therefore, we set the boundary of the elastic half-space at the height of each GNSS station for a more accurate approximation of the pressure source.
On volcanoes, as in other precipitous areas, surface displacement due to pressure changes of underground sources can be affected by topography (Meteorological Research Institute 2008), and ground deformation cannot always be explained by an approximate analytic solution. To check the effect of topography, we calculated the displacement of the three JMANET stations, given our estimated source parameters, using the finite element method (FEM) and a digital elevation model (DEM). The resulting displacement was only as much as 9 % greater than the displacement yielded by the approximate analytic solution. Therefore, in the analysis area of this study, the effect of topography on the source estimation is negligible compared with observation errors.
GNSS network data show that the ground deformation before the 2014 eruption (Fig. 2) was too small for the pressure source to be modeled by the usual method (Miyaoka and Takagi 2016). However, a JMA tiltmeter in a borehole at site JMA510 detected ground tilt changes before and after the 2014 phreatic eruption, which started on September 27, 2014, at 11:52 Japan local time. The pendulum tiltmeter had operated at the bottom of a 100-m-deep borehole, and 1-Hz sampling data had been transmitted to the headquarters of JMA since 2010 (Volcanology Division, JMA 2014).
It is difficult to estimate possible long-term precursory tilt changes before the 2014 Mt. Ontake eruption. There may have been gradual northwest-upward tilt in the months before the eruption. However, the tiltmeter record may also include noise due to groundwater fluctuations and snowmelt.
A broadband seismometer operated by Nagano Prefecture at location MIT (Fig. 8), 3 km from the summit, recorded ground motions (Maeda et al. 2015). We converted this seismic record to ground tilt by numerical integration (Aoyama and Oshima 2015). The result showed uplift oriented west–southwest (NS component, −0.11 × 10−6 radians; EW component, −0.94 × 10−6 radians), which is the direction toward the summit. This tilt change is shown in Fig. 7c. The orientation of the uplift does not coincide exactly with the alignment of the volcanic vents in the Jigokudani valley, but it does coincide roughly with it (Fig. 8).
We carried out GNSS campaign surveys of the summit area in September 2011 and in October 2015, after the eruption. Because the results included aftereffects of the 2011 off the Pacific coast of Tohoku Earthquake, it was difficult to estimate how much of the deformation was volcanic, but volcanic regional deformation cannot be ruled out in the summit area.
We infer the following record of pressure sources accompanying ground deformation associated with the 2007 and 2014 eruptions of Mt. Ontake.
GNSS observations suggest that an open-crack fault pressure source deeper than 5 km below sea level and a spherical shallow pressure source at sea level inflated gradually starting 3 months before the 2007 eruption. The volume changes were 5.5 × 106 and 0.32 × 106 m3, respectively. The volume change of the deep source was large, so it was likely a dike-type magma chamber. Murase et al. (2016) also suggested the tensile crack model from precise leveling measurements. At the same time, the shallow source was located at the hypocenter of the very long-period seismic event associated with the 2007 eruption (Nakamichi et al. 2009).
An additional, shallower source, 1700 m above sea level, inflated with a volume increase of 0.28 × 106 m3 between August 2005 and September 2007. There were no tiltmeter data for this period.
Miyaoka and Takagi (2016) showed that the 2014 eruption was preceded by slight inflation of a deep pressure source at unspecified depth, beginning less than 1 month before the eruption. They did not discuss a shallower source. However, tiltmeter data show that the summit area began tilting upward 7 min before the eruption and then reversed direction when the eruption began. We interpret this change as having been caused by a shallow pressure source.
From these observations, we can infer that magma filled a chamber below sea level and caused subsurface hydrothermal activity just before the 2007 eruption. A shallower source, 1700 m above sea level, also inflated and caused a small phreatic eruption. Inflation of this shallower source ceased until the following GNSS campaign survey of 2007. Subsurface hydrothermal activity probably remained high after 2007. The GNSS observations indicate that deep magma migration was not associated directly with the 2014 eruption, but that existing magma under the volcanic edifice reactivated the shallower hydrothermal source that was responsible for the 2007 eruption and subsequently led to regional ground deformation. This shallow source caused the phreatic eruption of September 27, 2014. These inferences are consistent with the groundwater pressure observation (Koizumi et al. 2016). Assuming that this source is located at the 2007 shallower source, the volume change of the Mogi source is estimated to be 0.38 × 106 m3 from the tilt change just before the eruption.
The 2007 GNSS campaign survey data show that the volume change of the shallower source was 0.28 × 106 m3. Maeno et al. (2016) estimated that the 2014 eruption produced 0.3–0.5 × 106 m3 DRE of eruptive products. The volume change just before the 2014 eruption estimated from the tiltmeter data, 0.38 × 106 m3, is consistent with the estimated amount of eruptive products.
Ground deformation data from Mt. Ontake around the 2007 and 2014 eruptions reveal details of the pressure sources beneath the volcano. GNSS network observations suggest that volume changes before and after the 2007 eruption totaled 6 × 106 m3, of which 5.5 × 106 m3 was in an open-crack fault and 0.32 × 106 m3 was in a shallower sphere below sea level. GNSS campaign survey data suggest a volume change of 0.28 × 106 m3 in a shallow source, 1700 m above sea level, just beneath the volcanic vents.
In the 2014 eruption, volume change at depth was very small; however, tiltmeter data suggest that a shallow source inflated 7 min before the eruption with a volume change of 0.38 × 106 m3.
AT analyzed the GNSS data, estimated pressure models, and drafted this manuscript. SO carried out a portion of the quantitative analysis and discussed the volcanic activity and estimated models. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.
We thank GSI for furnishing the GEONET GNSS data. We thank the government of Nagano Prefecture for the use of the broadband seismometer data. We are grateful to Makoto Miyashita, Hideki Kojima, Yasushi Ikeda, Tadayoshi Ueno, and Keita Torisu for their help with the GNSS surveys. Most of the figures were prepared using Generic Mapping Tools (Wessel and Smith 1998). Calculations for locating pressure sources were done using MaGCAP-V software, developed by the Meteorological Research Institute (Fukui et al. 2013). We thank two anonymous reviewers and Dr. Koshun Yamaoka, the editor, for their useful comments and suggestions. This work was supported by KAKENHI Grant-in-Aid for Special Purposes, Grant Number 26900002 of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
Both authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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