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The paroxysmal 2015 eruption of Volcán Villarrica (Chile) produced a 2.5 h long lahar, which descended more than 20 km within the Rio Correntoso/Turbio drainage and destroyed two small bridges. A three-element infrasound array 10 km from the summit, and 4 km from the lahar’s closest approach, was used to study the flow’s progression. Array processing using cross-correlation lag times and semblance places constraints on the lahar’s dynamics, including detection of an initial flow pulse that traveled from 2 to 12 km at an average speed of 38m/s. Subsequently, the lahar signal evolved to a relatively stationary infrasonic tremor located 10 to 12 km from the vent and adjacent to a topographic notch, through which sound may have preferentially diffracted toward the recording site. This study demonstrates the powerful capabilities of infrasound arrays for lahar study and suggests their potential application for future hazard monitoring.

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This document was originally published by Wiley on behalf of the American Geophysical Union in Geophysical Research Letters. Copyright restrictions may apply. doi: 10.1002/2015GL065024