Measuring Variable Scales of Surface Deformation in and around the Yellowstone Caldera with TerraSAR-X Interferometry

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Charles Wesley Wicks Jr, USGS, Menlo Park, CA, United States and Daniel Dzurisin, USGS, Vancouver, WA, United States
Utilizing three years of TerraSAR-X (TSX) Stripmap data covering the Yellowstone Caldera, Wyoming, we identify several examples showing the benefits of the high spatial and temporal resolution TSX data. Although the Stripmap footprints are small, compared to those of past SAR satellites, we are nonetheless able to track subsidence/uplift cycles of the ~50 x 80 km Yellowstone caldera using multiple strips. The Stripmap data are also useful for measuring deformation associated with the area of the North Rim anomaly, an area of repeated uplift and subsidence, ~30 km in diameter near the intersection of the north caldera rim, north-trending Mammoth-Norris Corridor, and west-northwest trending seismic belt east of Hebgen Lake. We measured ~45 mm of uplift associated with an episode that occurred mostly during the winter of 2013-2014 (as verified by GPS), and ~15 mm of subsequent subsidence in the early summer of 2014. The TSX Stripmap data have also proven effective at measuring small-scale deformation features. Because of the high-resolution of the TSX Stripmap data, we have also been able to measure many small-scale deforming features in Yellowstone National Park that are associated with apparent aquifer discharge/recharge cycles, unstable slope movement, geyser basin deformation, and deformation related to other hydrothermal features. We present an example of ~3 cm of seasonal deformation likely resulting from water movement in and out of an aquifer along the southwest caldera rim. We also document subsidence of ~1 cm/yr in a circular area nearly 0.5 km across near the vent from the Pitchstone Plateau, a thick rhyolite flow that erupted nearly 70 ka. TSX data are instrumental in identifying the seasonal variation found in some of these features, and in measuring the small spatial areas of deformation associated with other features.