Albert, H., F. Costa, and J. Martí (2016), Years to weeks of seismic unrest and magmatic intrusions precede monogenetic eruptions, Geology, doi: 10.1130/g37239.1.
Seismic, deformation, and gas activity (unrest) typically precedes volcanic eruptions. Tracking the changes of this activity with monitoring data makes it increasingly possible to successfully forecast eruptions from stratovolcanoes. However, this is not the case for monogenetic volcanoes. Eruptions from these volcanoes tend to be small but are particularly difficult to anticipate since they occur at unexpected locations and there is very limited instrumental monitoring data. Many monogenetic volcanic fields occur in high-density, populated areas and/or tourist destinations, and thus even a small eruption can have a major economic and societal impact. We have gathered the available instrumental data for unrest and combined it with new historical accounts of seismicity. Our occurrences are mainly from high magmatic flux oceanic islands (Canary Islands, Iceland, Papua New Guinea, Mexico, and Japan). We find that seismic activity may start one or two years before eruption, but it intensifies at approximately two or three months, and one or two weeks. The petrological and geochemical characteristics of the deposits show that multiple magma batches interacted in a subvolcanic reservoir, and multiple intrusions occurred on a similar time scales to the seismicity. We propose a general model for these eruptions where early dike intrusions in the crust do not erupt (e.g., stalled intrusions) and make small plumbing systems, but they probably are key in creating a thermal and rheological pathway for later dikes to be able to reach the surface. These observations provide a conceptual framework for better anticipating monogenetic eruptions in similar settings and magmatic fluxes and should lead to improved strategies for mitigation of their associated hazards and risks.