COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH: The CALIPSO Project: Imaging the Magma Chamber on Montserrat

Project: Research project

Project Details




This award provides renewal support for the CALIPSO Project (Caribbean Andesitic Lava Island Precision Seismo-geodetic Observatory) on Montserrat, WI. The ultimate goal of this project is to investigate the dynamics of the entire magmatic system of Soufriere Hills Volcano (SHV), and to enhance our generic understanding of andesitic magma dynamics.

The project was initiated in 2002 with drilling and installation of four high-sensitivity borehole (200-m deep) seismic and ground deformation (strainmeter, tiltmeter, cGPS) stations around the SHV. This is the first and only such instrumented borehole network at any andesite volcano. The project involves six US institutions (Arizona State U, U Arkansas, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Cornell, Duke, Penn State), Bristol and Leeds universities in the UK, and the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO).

Principal funding (ca. 2 million USD) was from NSF (Continental Dynamics, and I/F), with a contribution from UK. The installations were completed by 2004, and important instrumental data have been recovered, including those from a prodigious lava dome collapse in 2003, explosions in 2003-5, and restarted dome growth 2005 (Mattioli et al., 2004, 2005; Voight et. al., 2005). The PI's efforts to date have focused necessarily on facility and data transfer issues, but their initial research on the data promises quite important insights on the magmatic system (Voight et al. 2005). The PIs argue that the data being collected are of unprecedented value, and their analysis is merited on scientific grounds as well as to support the considerable investment NSF has made in developing the CALIPSO facility.

A new direction added to the CALIPSO Project is the SEA-CALIPSO experiment, an extension involving a Seismic Experiment with Airgun- source. This is an 'onshore - offshore' seismic experiment to image the magma chamber and deep crust underlying the SHV on Montserrat. The data acquisition phase of this experiment will be carried out in 2007, with combined support of NSF (Geophysics) and the National Environmental Research Council (NERC) of the UK (see correspondence). Support for the analysis and modeling research phase for the data acquired in SEA-CALIPSO is being provided in this award.

Specifically, this award provides support for:

(1) analyses of borehole (and ancillary surface instrument) data involving strainmeter, cGPS, tilt, seismic and other datasets, including calibrations and modeling efforts, to deduce the physical characteristics of the magma system and its perturbations (e.g. new magma influx, explosions);

(2) complete analysis, modeling and interpretation of SEA-CALIPSO data (airgun and earthquake data set recorded by ~100 PASSCAL seismic recorders for a 3-4 month period centered on the airgun survey) to generate tomographic and reflection imaging of the magmatic system;

(3) linkage of the borehole observatory analyses, tomographic imaging information, and deformation and fluid mechanic modeling;

(4) timely team workshops for coordinated planning of the research;

(5) educational outreach, and communication of research results.

Effective start/end date9/1/068/31/11


  • National Science Foundation: $585,209.00


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