Project Overview

Infrasounds are atmospheric sounds below the 20 Hz threshold of human hearing. Infrasounds can travel thousands of kilometres and can be detected using sensitive microbarometers. Several natural sources generate infrasounds, including the hundreds of volcanoes surrounding Singapore. In this project, we plan to build an infrasound array to detect and classify recorded signals of all origins (anthropic and natural). Real-time analysis of these signals can help identify the region where volcanic activity occurs. Coupled with other EOS projects, these regions can be associated with a probability of ash hazard over major cities in Southeast Asia.

Because volcanic infrasound is generated during the explosive release of fluid into the atmosphere, it is a robust indicator that an eruption has occurred. Therefore, long-range infrasonic monitoring may help to detect volcanic explosions and complement other monitoring technologies, especially in remote regions with sparse ground-based instrument networks.

In Singapore, this technology is particularly interesting to detect, locate and characterise major volcanic eruptions at long ranges. The main objective of this project is to recover physical information on volcanic eruptions detected by one station composed of 5 infrasonic sensors. This acoustic antenna will be used to detect coherent signals within the background noise and estimate the wavefront parameters of the waves (direction of arrival, speed, amplitude, dominant frequency, etc.). These parameters will provide useful information on the source and chronology of the eruption processes. This can lead to an independent and rapid diagnosis of the location and explosivity of an eruption, and thus to a first order notification of potential ash dispersal over Singapore Air-Space and major cities in Southeast Asia. Once the real-time analysis has been tested and proven to be robust, results will be sent to the VAAC centres in charge of the region (namely Darwin and Tokyo) and to the Meteorological Service of Singapore (MSS) as a 24/7 monitoring tool.

In recent years, the team has successfully installed an infrasound array in Singapore to record signals from distant volcanic eruptions, and to enable the eruption dynamics to be studied remotely.

What if we were able to remotely infer useful information about eruption chronology and released acoustic energy when a volcanic explosion occurs? In February 2014, the Kelut eruption in Indonesia (indicated by the yellow star) has demonstrated the potential of remotely recorded infrasound to quickly detect volcanic explosion and to characterise the source.


Funding Sources

  • Earth Observatory of Singapore

Project Years

2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Related Projects

Models constraining models: Analogue modelling to assess theoretical uncertainties

Our research group is focused on understanding the movement of magma in the upper crust. Such moveme...
Read Project Details

MUON Tomography at Mayon Volcano, Philippines Toward a Better Understanding of Open-Vent Systems

Mayon volcano is an openly degassing basaltic andesite volcano, located in the Philippines, that pro...
Read Project Details

Dynamics of the deeper part of explosive volcanic systems

One of the most active explosive volcanoes in the world, the Soufriere Hills Volcano (Montserrat, We...
Read Project Details

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 ...
Read Project Details

Volcanic ash as a hazard to aviation in Southeast Asia

We use volcano morphology, observed in satellite remote sensing, coupled with eruption data taken fr...
Read Project Details


Year 2014

Year 2014

Ground vs Space, when are we blind, and when are we deaf?

Benoit Taisne, A Le Pichon, Corentin Caudron, Milton Garces, & Patrick Whelley

Year 2014

Atmospheric control on ground and space based early warning system for hazard linked to ash injection into the atmosphere

Corentin Caudron, A Le Pichon, Benoit Taisne, Milton Garces, & Patrick Whelley

The Team



Principal Investigator



Milton GarcesInfrasound Lab UoH ManoaHawaii Institute of Geophysics and Planetology

Ross Williams, School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University

Subscribe to the EOS Newsletter

Stay in touch with the latest news, events, research, and publications from the Earth Observatory of Singapore.

Email is required

Email is wrong format

You Can Make a Difference

Partner with us to make an impact and create safer, more sustainable societies throughout Southeast Asia.
Make A Gift