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Seismic Observations using Ocean Bottom Seismometers around Kuchierabujima Volcano

Abstract

The remarkable eruption on Kuchierabujima, which occurred on May 29, 2015, had the potential to disrupt land seismic observation if the volcanic activities had expanded. Since relatively deep-volcano-tectonic (DVT) earthquakes under the volcano may have extended into the sea region around the island, we deployed four ocean bottom seismometers (OBSs) on the seafloor at distances at approximately 6.5 km from the crater. During the OBS observation period from July 3 to October 9, 2015, 303 volcanic earthquakes were detected. The daily numbers and the temporal amplitude changes indicate that seismic activities declined in the middle of August. However, only nine of the events were DVT earthquakes, and we were unable to identify any clear differences between the hypocenter distribution characteristics of the DVT events discussed in previous studies and those of our observations. However, since the temporal tendency of daily earthquake numbers derived from our OBS data resembled that compiled by the Japan Meteorological Agency using real-time land data, when eruption expansions occur on a small-scale remote island such as Kuchierabujima, OBS observations can provide a useful backup to efforts aimed at grasping the seismicity.

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