The April-May 2010 summit eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, Iceland, was recorded by 14 atmospheric infrasound sensor arrays at ranges between 1,700 and 3,700 km, indicating that infrasound from modest-size eruptions can propagate for thousands of kilometers in atmospheric waveguides. Although variations in both atmospheric propagation conditions and background noise levels at the sensors generate fluctuations in signal-to-noise ratios and signal detectability, array processing techniques successfully discriminate between volcanic infrasound and ambient coherent and incoherent noise. The current global infrasound network is significantly more dense and sensitive than any previously operated network and signals from large volcanic explosions are routinely recorded. Because volcanic infrasound is generated during the explosive release of fluid into the atmosphere, it is a strong indicator that an eruption has occurred. Therefore, long-range infrasonic monitoring may aid volcanic explosion detection by complementing other monitoring technologies, especially in remote regions with sparse ground-based instrument networks.
R Matoza, J Vergoz, A Le Pichon, L Ceranna, D Green, LG Evers, M Ripepe, P Campus, L Liszka, T Kvaerna, E Kjartansson, A Höskuldsson. Long-range acoustic observations of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, Iceland, April-May 2010
published, Geophys. Res. Lett., 2011, 38