Preparing for Routine Satellite Global Volcano Deformation Observations: The Volcano Deformation Database Task Force

Monday, 15 December 2014: 5:45 PM
Jennifer Jay1, Benjamin James Andrews1, Matthew E Pritchard2, Jennifer Cooper2, Scott T Henderson2, Francisco Delgado2, Juliet Biggs3 and Susanna K Ebmeier3, (1)Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, United States, (2)Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, United States, (3)University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom
Satellite Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) has greatly expanded the number volcanoes that can be monitored for ground deformation – the number of known deforming volcanoes has increased almost five-fold since 1997 (to more than 213 volcanoes in 2014). However, from 1992-2014, there are still gaps in global volcano surveillance and only a fraction of the 1400 subaerial Holocene volcanoes have frequent observations in this time period. Starting in 2014, near global observations of volcano deformation should begin with the Sentinel satellites from the European Space Agency, ALOS-2 from the Japanese Space Agency, and eventually NISAR from the Indian Space Agency and NASA. With more frequent observations, more volcano deformation episodes are sure to be observed, but evaluating the significance of the observed deformation is not always straightforward -- how can we determine if deformation will lead to eruption? To answer this question, an international task force has been formed to create an inventory of volcano deformation events as part of the Global Volcano Model (http://globalvolcanomodel.org/gvm-task-forces/volcano-deformation-database/).

We present the first results from our global study focusing on volcanoes that have few or no previous studies. In some cases, there is a lack of SAR data (for example, volcanoes of the South Sandwich Islands). For others, observations either show an absence of deformation or possible deformation that requires more data to be verified. An example of a deforming volcano that has few past studies is Pagan, an island in the Marianas Arc comprised of 2 stratovolcanoes within calderas. Our new InSAR measurements from both the ALOS and Envisat satellites show deformation near the 1981 May VEI 4 lava flow eruption on North Pagan at 2-3 cm/year between 2004-2010. Another example of a newly observed volcano is Karthala volcano in the Comoros. InSAR observations between 2004-2010 span four eruptions, only one of which is accompanied by deformation.