Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Volcanic eruptions that occur without warning can be deadly in touristic and populated areas. Even with real-time geophysical monitoring, forecasting sudden eruptions is difficult, because their precursors are hard to recognize and can vary between volcanoes. Here, we describe a general seismic precursor signal for gas-driven eruptions, identified through correlation analysis of 18 well-recorded eruptions in New Zealand, Alaska, and Kamchatka. The precursor manifests in the displacement seismic amplitude ratio between medium (4.5–8 Hz) and high (8–16 Hz) frequency tremor bands, exhibiting a characteristic rise in the days prior to eruptions. We interpret this as formation of a hydrothermal seal that enables rapid pressurization of shallow groundwater. Applying this model to the 2019 eruption at Whakaari (New Zealand), we describe pressurization of the system in the week before the eruption, and cascading seal failure in the 16 h prior to the explosion. Real-time monitoring for this precursor may improve short-term eruption warning systems at certain volcanoes.