Using InSAR for Characterizing Pyroclastic Flow Deposits at Augustine Volcano Across Two Eruptive Cycles
Abstract:Augustine Island is a small, 8x11 km island in South Central Alaska’s lower Cook Inlet. It is approximately 280 km southwest of Anchorage, and occupied entirely by its namesake Augustine Volcano.
At Augustine Volcano, SAR data suitable for interferometry is available from 1992 to 2005, from March 2006 to April 2007, and from July 2007 to October 2010. Its last two eruptive episodes, in 1986 and 2006, resulted in substantial pyroclastic flow deposits (PFDs) on the Volcano’s north flank. Earlier InSAR analyses of the area, from 1992-1999, identified local subsidence, but no volcano-wide deformation indicative of magma-chamber evacuation. In contrast to previous studies, we use InSAR data to determine a range of geophysical parameters for PFDs emplaced during the Augustine’s two most recent eruption cycles.
Based on InSAR measurements between 1992 and 2010, we reconstruct the deformation behavior of PFDs emplaced during Augustine’s last two eruption cycles. Using a combination of InSAR measurements and modeling, we determine the thickness and long-term deformation of overlaying pyroclastic flow deposits emplaced in 1986 and 2006. Consistent with previous observations of pyroclastic flows, we found that the PFDs on Augustine Island rapidly subsided after emplacement due to an initial compaction of the material. We determined the length of this initial settling period and measured the compaction rate. Subsequent to this initial rapid subsidence, we found that PFD deformation slowed to a more persistent, linear, long-term rate, related to cooling of the deposits. We established that the deposits’ contraction rate is linearly related to their thickness and measured the contraction rate. Finally, a study of long term coherence properties of the Augustine PFDs showed remarkable stability of the surface over long time periods. This information provides clues on the structural properties and composition of the emplaced material.