Monitoring subsidence and vent wall collapse on Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii

Mar 29, 2013

Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii experienced its first summit eruption in 26 years when a new vent along the east wall of Halema'uma'u Crater opened in March 2008. Since that time, the vent has become wider as parts of the wall around it became unstable and collapsed into the active lava lake within the vent, sometimes triggering small explosions.

Richter et al. have monitored in the area around the new vent since 2008 using interferometric (InSAR) from the TerraSAR-X satellite along with a of the topography based on lidar data. They were able to generate interferograms (a type of image) with a pixel resolution of about 3 meters (10 feet), which revealed centimeter-scale subsidence in the area within 100 meters (328 feet) of the vent rim. They note that this deformation cannot be detected by other techniques.

In general, the authors find that subsidence and increasing vent area track each other: the vent was more stable at times when subsidence rates were lower, while periods when the subsidence rate increased tended to be followed by collapse of parts of the vent wall. They suggest that it may be possible to identify areas where the vent rim is likely to fail soon on the basis of subsidence rate monitoring. The study demonstrates the potential for using high-resolution satellite interferometry for monitoring potential hazards.

Explore further: NASA's HS3 looks Hurricane Edouard in the eye

More information: TerraSAR-X interferometry reveals small-scale deformation associated with the summit eruption of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai'iG, eophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1002/grl.50286 , 2013 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50286/abstract

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Satellite looks down the eye of erupting Nabro Volcano

Jun 28, 2011

Wow! What an amazing and detailed top-down view of an active volcano! This is the Nabro Volcano, which has been erupting since June 12, 2011. It sits in an isolated region on the border between Eritrea and ...

Possible new fish species found in Pacific

Apr 17, 2007

A new undersea mineral chimney emitting hot, iron-darkened water that attracts unusual marine life has been discovered in the Pacific Ocean off Costa Rica.

MESSENGER sees a smoother side of Mercury

Mar 22, 2013

During its two years in orbit around Mercury—as well as several more years performing flybys—the MESSENGER spacecraft has taken over 150,000 images of the innermost planet, giving us a look at its incredibly ...

Recommended for you

NASA's HS3 looks Hurricane Edouard in the eye

8 hours ago

NASA and NOAA scientists participating in NASA's Hurricane and Severe Storms Sentinel (HS3) mission used their expert skills, combined with a bit of serendipity on Sept. 17, 2014, to guide the remotely piloted ...

Tropical Storm Rachel dwarfed by developing system 90E

13 hours ago

Tropical Storm Rachel is spinning down west of Mexico's Baja California, and another tropical low pressure area developing off the coast of southwestern Mexico dwarfs the tropical storm. NOAA's GOES-West ...

NASA ocean data shows 'climate dance' of plankton

16 hours ago

The greens and blues of the ocean color from NASA satellite data have provided new insights into how climate and ecosystem processes affect the growth cycles of phytoplankton—microscopic aquatic plants ...

Glaciers in the grand canyon of Mars?

18 hours ago

For decades, planetary geologists have speculated that glaciers might once have crept through Valles Marineris, the 2000-mile-long chasm that constitutes the Grand Canyon of Mars. Using satellite images, ...

NASA support key to glacier mapping efforts

18 hours ago

Thanks in part to support from NASA and the National Science Foundation, scientists have produced the first-ever detailed maps of bedrock beneath glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica. This new data will help ...

User comments : 0