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Keywords:

  • Seismic attenuation;
  • Volcano seismology;
  • Wave propagation;
  • Acoustic properties;
  • Physics of magma and magma bodies

SUMMARY

We study the interaction of acoustic pressure waves with an expanding bubbly magma. The expansion of magma is the result of bubble growth during or following magma decompression and leads to two competing processes that affect pressure waves. On the one hand, growth in vesicularity leads to increased damping and decreased wave amplitudes, and on the other hand, a decrease in the effective bulk modulus of the bubbly mixture reduces wave velocity, which in turn, reduces damping and may lead to wave amplification. The additional acoustic energy originates from the chemical energy released during bubble growth. We examine this phenomenon analytically to identify conditions under which amplification of pressure waves is possible. These conditions are further examined numerically to shed light on the frequency and phase dependencies in relation to the interaction of waves and growing bubbles. Amplification is possible at low frequencies and when the growth rate of bubbles reaches an optimum value for which the wave velocity decreases sufficiently to overcome the increased damping of the vesicular material. We examine two amplification phase-dependent effects: (1) a tensile-phase effect in which the inserted wave adds to the process of bubble growth, utilizing the energy associated with the gas overpressure in the bubble and therefore converting a large proportion of this energy into additional acoustic energy, and (2) a compressive-phase effect in which the pressure wave works against the growing bubbles and a large amount of its acoustic energy is dissipated during the first cycle, but later enough energy is gained to amplify the second cycle. These two effects provide additional new possible mechanisms for the amplification phase seen in Long-Period (LP) and Very-Long-Period (VLP) seismic signals originating in magma-filled cracks.