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: Radioisotope studies show the continental crust formed 3 billion years ago

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

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

ESA image: Northwest Sardinia

Jul 03, 2015

This image over part of the Italian island of Sardinia comes from the very first acquisition by the Sentinel-2A satellite.

Experiments open window on landscape formation

Jul 02, 2015

University of Oregon geologists have seen ridges and valleys form in real time and—even though the work was a fast-forwarded operation done in a laboratory setting—they now have an idea of how climate ...

NASA image: Canadian wildfires continue

Jul 02, 2015

Canada is reeling from an early fire season this year as dozens of fires ravage at least three provinces of the country. All of the following reports are as of July 2, 2015.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.