Using seismic data to track magma transport

With more that one eruption per year on average during the last 30 years, Piton de la Fournaise (La Reunion island, Indian Ocean) is one of the most active effusive volcanoes in the world. It is the perfect natural laboratory to imagine new methods to track magma motion within the Earth’s crust.

I created at Piton de la Fournaise a new way to look at seismic data that enables us to track magma motion within the crust by using radiated energy. This method has been applied directly in real time and successfully predicted the location of the October 2010 eruption with an error of 200 meters. This technique gave us insight on the magma migration dynamics and highlighted how complex this migration could be. Following this observation I conducted the development of a new numerical code to model the migration of the magma, with several parameters like density change, temporal variation of the deep magma supply, and degassing.