High Resolution Satellite Remote Sensing of the 2013-2014 Eruption of Sinabung Volcano, Sumatra, Indonesia

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Rick L Wessels, USGS Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, Reston, VA, United States and Julia Griswold, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, Vancouver, WA, United States
Satellite remote sensing provided timely observations of the volcanic unrest and several months-long eruption at Sinabung Volcano, Indonesia. Visible to thermal optical and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) systems provided frequent observations of Sinabung. High resolution image data with spatial resolutions from 0.5 to 1.5m offered detailed measurements of early summit deformation and subsequent lava dome and lava flow extrusion. The high resolution data were captured by commercial satellites such as WorldView-1 and -2 visible to near-infrared (VNIR) sensors and by CosmoSkyMed, Radarsat-2, and TerraSar-X SAR systems. Less frequent 90 to 100m spatial resolution night time thermal infrared (TIR) observations were provided by ASTER and Landsat-8.

The combination of data from multiple sensors allowed us to construct a more complete timeline of volcanic activity than was available via only ground-based observations. This satellite observation timeline documents estimates of lava volume and effusion rates and major explosive and lava collapse events. Frequent, repeat volume estimates suggest at least three high effusion rate pulses of up to 20 m3/s occurred during the first three months of lava effusion with an average effusion rate of 6m3/s from January 2014 to August 2014. Many of these rates and events show some correlation to variations in the Real-time Seismic-Amplitude Measurement (RSAM) documented by the Indonesian Center for Volcanology and Geologic Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM).