A hydrovolcanic eruption near Cone D on the floor of Okmok caldera, Alaska, began on 12 July 2008 and continued until late August 2008. The eruption was preceded by inflation of a magma reservoir located beneath the center of the caldera and ~3 km below sea level (bsl), which began immediately after Okmok's previous eruption in 1997. In this paper we use data from several radar satellites and advanced interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) techniques to produce a suite of 2008 coeruption deformation maps. Most of the surface deformation that occurred during the eruption is explained by deflation of a Mogi-type source located beneath the center of the caldera and 2–3 km bsl, i.e., essentially the same source that inflated prior to the eruption. During the eruption the reservoir deflated at a rate that decreased exponentially with time with a 1/e time constant of ~13 days. We envision a sponge-like network of interconnected fractures and melt bodies that in aggregate constitute a complex magma storage zone beneath Okmok caldera. The rate at which the reservoir deflates during an eruption may be controlled by the diminishing pressure difference between the reservoir and surface. A similar mechanism might explain the tendency for reservoir inflation to slow as an eruption approaches until the pressure difference between a deep magma production zone and the reservoir is great enough to drive an intrusion or eruption along the caldera ring-fracture system.
Additional publication details
Ground surface deformation patterns, magma supply, and magma storage at Okmok volcano, Alaska, from InSAR analysis: 2. Coeruptive deflation, July-August 2008