Varied seismicity has accompanied growth and collapse of the lava dome of the Soufriere Hills Volcano, Montserrat. Earthquakes have been classified as either volcano-tectonic, long-period or hybrid, and daily variations in the numbers of events have mapped changes in the style of eruption. Repetitive hybrid earthquakes were common during the first months of dome growth. In July 1996 the style of seismicity changed and regular, short-lived hybrid earthquake swarms became common. This change was probably caused by an increase in the magma flux. Earthquake swarms have preceded almost all major dome collapses, and have accompanied cyclical deformation, thought to be due to a build-up of pressure in the upper conduit which is later released by magma moving into the dome.
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