Harmonic tremor describes a long-duration release of seismic energy, with distinct spectral (harmonic) lines, that often precedes or accompanies a volcanic eruption. More generally, a volcanic tremor is a sustained signal that may or may not possess these harmonic
A harmonic of a wave is a component frequency of the signal that is an integer multiple of the fundamental frequency, i.e. if the fundamental frequency is f, the harmonics have frequencies 2f, 3f, 4f, . . . etc. The harmonics have the property that they are all periodic at the fundamental...
A harmonic tremor is a sustained release of seismic and/or infrasonic energy typically associated with the underground movement of magma
Magma is a mixture of molten rock, volatiles and solids that is found beneath the surface of the Earth, and is expected to exist on other terrestrial planets. Besides molten rock, magma may also contain suspended crystals and dissolved gas and sometimes also gas bubbles. Magma often collects in...
and/or venting of volcanic gases from magma. Being a long-duration continuous signal from a temporally extended source, a volcanic tremor contrasts distinctly with transient sources of seismic radiation, such as tremors that are typically associated with earthquake and explosion.
For more info, see the work of Bernard Chouet
Bernard A. Chouet is a geophysicist who specializes in volcanic seismology. He discovered that volcanic eruptions could be predicted by observing the frequency of certain seismic waves that are generated by volcanoes.- Background :...
, a USGS volcanologist who was working at the United States Geological Survey
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology,...
and who first observed a relation between long-period events and an imminent eruption.