The lowermost portion of an explosive volcanic eruption column is considered a momentum-driven jet. Understanding volcanic jets is critical for determining eruption column dynamics and mitigating volcanic hazards; however, volcanic jets are inherently difficult to observe due to their violence and opacity. Infrasound from the 2011 eruption of Nabro Volcano, Eritrea has waveform features highly similar to the “crackle” phenomenon uniquely produced by man-made supersonic jet engines and rockets and is characterized by repeated asymmetric compressions followed by weaker, gradual rarefactions. This infrasonic crackle indicates that infrasound source mechanisms in sustained volcanic eruptions are strikingly similar to jet noise sources from heated, supersonic jet engines and rockets, suggesting that volcanologists can utilize the modeling and physical understandings of man-made jets to understand volcanic jets. The unique, distinctive infrasonic crackle from Nabro highlights the use of infrasound to remotely detect and characterize hazardous eruptions and its potential to determine volcanic jet parameters.
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