Small-scale geomorphological changes that are associated with the formation, development, and activity of volcanic craters and eruptive vents are often challenging to characterize, as they may occur slowly over time, can be spatially localized, and difficult, or dangerous, to access. Using high-spatial and high-temporal resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery collected by the German TerraSAR-X (TSX) satellite in SpotLight mode in combination with precise topographic data as derived from Pléiades-1A satellite data, we investigate the surface deformation within the nested summit crater system of Láscar volcano, Chile, the most active volcano of the central Andes. Our aim is to better understand the structural evolution of the three craters that comprise this system, to assess their physical state and dynamic behavior, and to link this to eruptive activity and associated hazards. Using multi-temporal SAR interferometry (MT-InSAR) from ascending and descending orbital geometries, we retrieve the vertical and east-west components of the displacement field. This time series indicates constant rates of subsidence and asymmetric horizontal displacements of all summit craters between June 2012 and July 2014, as well as between January 2015 and March 2017. The vertical and horizontal movements that we observe in the central crater are particularly complex and cannot be explained by any single crater formation mechanism; rather, we suggest that short-term activities superimposed on a combination of ongoing crater evolution processes, including gravitational slumping, cooling and compaction of eruption products, as well as possible piston-like subsidence, are responsible for the small-scale geomorphological changes apparent in our data. Our results demonstrate how high-temporal resolution synthetic aperture radar interferometry (InSAR) time series can add constraints on the geomorphological evolution and structural dynamics of active crater and vent systems at volcanoes worldwide.
N Richter, JT Salzer, E De Zeeuw-van Dalfsen, D Perissin, TR Walter. Constraints on the geomorphological evolution of the nested summit craters of Láscar volcano from high spatio-temporal resolution TerraSAR-X interferometry
Status: published, Journal: Bull Volcanol, Volume: 80, Year: 2018, First page: 1, Last page: 17, doi: 10.1007/s00445-018-1195-3