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Seismic characterization of hyperconcentrated flows in a volcanic environment

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Author(s): Velio Coviello, Lucia Capra, Rosario Vazquez, Victor H. Marquez-Ramirez

Document Type:
Publisher: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms
Published Year: 2018
DOI Identifier: 10.1002/esp.4387
ISBN Identifier:

We present direct observations and monitoring data of a hyperconcentrated flow that occurred along La Lumbre ravine, one of the most active channels of Volcán de Colima in Mexico. Flow properties were inferred from video images and seismic data recorded by a geophone installed outside the channel. We collected flow samples 400 m upstream from the monitoring station and analyzed the variation of sediment concentration and grain‐size distribution over time. A joint analysis of hydrological (i.e. flow velocity, wetted perimeter) and rheological (i.e. yield stress τy and dynamic viscosity μm) parameters was performed to characterize the flow. Different flow regimes and sediment transport processes were identified and analyzed in comparison with both the amplitude and spectral features of the seismic signal. We observed differing sediment concentrations at the same discharge, suggesting a decoupling between sediment transport processes and discharge for low‐magnitude flows. A straightforward correlation was found between the amplitude of the seismic signal and the sediment concentration, and a value of 1.8x10−3 mm/s was identified that can be used as a threshold to recognize the hyperconcentrated phase of the flow. This information was tested on the complete seismic dataset gathered at La Lumbre ravine during the 2015 rainy season. We identified the transition from streamflow to hyperconcentrated flow (and/or vice versa) in 16 low‐magnitude events and we validated this result using the video recordings. The correlation between seismic amplitude and sediment concentration is valid at La Lumbre ravine but would need to be tested in other locations for the development of automatic flow classification methods. This work contributes to standardized seismic methods for characterizing flow processes in volcanic environments, also for the development of lahar early warning systems.

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Suggested Citations:
In Text Citation:
Coviello and others (2018) or (Coviello et al., 2018)

References Citation:
Coviello, V., L. Capra, R. Vazquez, and V.H. Marquez-Ramirez, 2018, Seismic characterization of hyperconcentrated flows in a volcanic environment: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, doi: 10.1002/esp.4387.