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Measuring large topographic change with InSAR: lava thicknesses, extrusion rate and subsidence rate at Santiaguito volcano, Guatemala

Ebmeier, S.K., Biggs, J., Mather, T.A., Elliott, J.R., Wadge, G. and Amelung, F. (2012) Measuring large topographic change with InSAR: lava thicknesses, extrusion rate and subsidence rate at Santiaguito volcano, Guatemala. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 335-336. pp. 216-225. ISSN 0012-821X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2012.04.027

Abstract/Summary

Lava flows can produce changes in topography on the order of 10s-100s of metres. A knowledge of the resulting volume change provides evidence about the dynamics of an eruption. We present a method to measure topographic changes from the differential InSAR phase delays caused by the height differences between the current topography and a Digital Elevation Model (DEM). This does not require a pre-event SAR image, so it does not rely on interferometric phase remaining coherent during eruption and emplacement. Synthetic tests predicts that we can estimate lava thickness of as little as �9 m, given a minimum of 5 interferograms with suitably large orbital baseine separations. In the case of continuous motion, such as lava flow subsidence, we invert interferometric phase simultaneously for topographic change and displacement. We demonstrate the method using data from Santiaguito volcano, Guatemala, and measure increases in lava thickness of up to 140 m between 2000 and 2009, largely associated with activity between 2000 and 2005. We find a mean extrusion rate of 0.43 +/- 0.06 m3/s, which lies within the error bounds of the longer term extrusion rate between 1922-2000. The thickest and youngest parts of the flow deposit were shown to be subsiding at an average rate of �-6 cm/yr. This is the first time that flow thickness and subsidence have been measured simultaneously. We expect this method to be suitable for measurment of landslides and other mass flow deposits as well as lava flows.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:34473
Publisher:Elsevier

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