Simulating Volcanic Infrasound, Using Lab Based Experiments

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Arts and Sciences



Faculty Sponsor

Jeffrey Johnson


Volcanos radiate characteristic infrasound that is influenced by the shape of both the crater, and volcanic conduit system. Infrasound is below the capacity of human hearing, ranging between 0.01 and 20Hz. These sounds originate from pressure oscillations due to the exsolution of volatiles, and magma movement within the chamber, and can be used to detect, locate, quantify, and constrain various eruption source parameters. In this project, we try and simulate the generation of sounds from volcanic craters in the lab using small scale experiments. Our analog experiment consists of a PVC pipe cut to different lengths to represent the volcanic conduit. The bottom of this system contains a chamber with threading providing a repeatable mechanism to fire a ‘bang snap’. The compression of the bang snap will excite an acoustic resonance that travels through a small hole drilled in to the bottom of the PVC pipe. The audio-band sounds are recorded by several microphones placed throughout the pipe. The expectation from these experiments is to produce frequency and reverberation characteristics that can be scaled to volcanic systems.

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