Submarine explosive activity and ocean noise generation at Monowai Volcano, Kermadec Arc: constraints from hydroacoustic T-waves
Submarine volcanic activity is difficult to detect, because eruptions at depth are strongly attenuated by seawater. With increasing depth the ambient water pressure increases and limits the expansion of gas and steam such that volcanic eruptions tend to be less violent and less explosive with depth. Furthermore, the thermal conductivity and heat capacity of water causes rapid cooling of ejected products and hence erupted magma cools much more quickly than during subaerial eruptions. Therefore, reports on submarine volcanism are restricted to those sites where erupted products – like the presence of pumice rafts, gas bubbling on the sea surface, and local seawater colour changes - reach the sea surface. However, eruptions cause sound waves that travel over far distances through the Sound-Fixing-And-Ranging (SOFAR) channel, so called T-waves. Seismic networks in French Polynesia recorded T-waves since the 1980’s that originated at Monowai Volcano, Kermadec Arc, and were attributed to episodic growth and collapse events. Repeated swath-mapping campaigns conducted between 1998 and 2011 confirm that Monowai volcano is a highly dynamic volcano.