Skip directly to content

Minimize RSR Award Detail

Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Hawaii
  • Helen A Janiszewski
  • (808) 956-0313
Award Date:07/27/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 296,022
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 296,022
  • FY 2021=$296,022
Start Date:08/01/2021
End Date:07/31/2024
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Constraining Transcrustal Magmatic Systems with Receiver Functions Along the Aleutian Island Arc
Federal Award ID Number:2052829
DUNS ID:965088057
Parent DUNS ID:009438664
Program Officer:
  • Paul Raterron
  • (703) 292-8565

Awardee Location

Street:2440 Campus Road, Box 368
Awardee Cong. District:01

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Hawaii
Street:1680 East-West Road
Cong. District:01

Abstract at Time of Award

The subterranean plumbing system beneath volcanoes is still not well understood. Recent advances in the understanding of crustal magmatic storage reveal them as complex, multi-layered systems consisting of both melt and crystal mush. However, it remains unclear how magma is stored and transported from the Earth’s mantle through the crust at volcanic arcs. A volcanic arc is a chain of volcanoes located above a subducting tectonic plate, i.e., a plate diving underneath another. Magmatic systems at arc volcanoes are a critical link between the subducting slab and the shallow magma reservoirs that feed volcanic eruptions. However, many established methods of constraining depth of magma storage have relatively low resolution in the mid-to-deep crust. Receiver functions are a technique of seismic imaging relatively underutilized in volcanic settings. They have recently shown promise in their ability to image magma storage in the deep crust. Here, the researchers apply this technique to image the magmatic system beneath volcanoes in the Aleutian Island arc, in Alaska. Using state-of-the-art seismic analysis, they gradually unveil the complexity of volcanoes’ plumbing system. This study also contributes to developing an imaging technique that can be applied to other volcanoes around the Globe. The project’s outcomes improve volcanic hazard assessment in Alaska where eruptions threaten local populations and air traffic. Indeed, its primary target volcanoes are classified as Highest Priority or High Priority for monitoring by the National Volcano Early Warning System. The project also provides support for an early-career female scientist. It fosters training in volcano seismology to graduate and undergraduate students at University of Hawaii. This project is jointly funded by the Geophysics program, and the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). Here, the researchers conduct novel receiver function analysis of seismic data to constrain the crustal magmatic structure beneath a transect of volcanoes along the Aleutian Island arc. They calculate P-to-s receiver functions using existing broadband data to determine crustal seismic velocity models with primary sensitivity in the mid- to deep-crust (≥ 10 km depth). They focus on six Aleutian volcanoes - Okmok, Makushin, Akutan, Westdahl, Pavlof, and Shishaldin - and incorporate previous results from Cleveland Volcano. Receiver functions are well suited to detect low velocity regions in the crust, which can indicate magma storage. This transect samples variations in depth to slab, H2O content, volcanic seismicity distribution, and overriding crustal properties; these factors have been hypothesized to relate to variations in magmatic storage and transport beneath arc volcanoes. The team also calculate receiver functions along a secondary transect in the Western Aleutians (Gareloi, Tanaga, Kanaga, Great Sitkin, Korovin); while significantly less data is available, this gives a basis for future expansion of the technique across the Alaska-Aleutian arc. This project provides new constraints on the depths and structure of magmatic storage throughout the crust beneath the volcanoes. It enables investigation into the sources of variation in volcanic behavior along arcs. Through collaboration with the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO), the team utilizes these results to identify future monitoring and research needs in the Aleutians. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

For specific questions or comments about this information including the NSF Project Outcomes Report, contact us.