Starting soon after the 1997 eruption at Okmok volcano and continuing until the start of the 2008 eruption, magma accumulated in a storage zone centered ~3.5 km beneath the caldera floor at a rate that varied with time. A Mogi-type point pressure source or finite sphere with a radius of 1 km provides an adequate fit to the deformation field portrayed in time-sequential interferometric synthetic aperture radar images. From the end of the 1997 eruption through summer 2004, magma storage increased by 3.2–4.5 × 107 m3, which corresponds to 75–85% of the magma volume erupted in 1997. Thereafter, the average magma supply rate decreased such that by 10 July 2008, 2 days before the start of the 2008 eruption, magma storage had increased by 3.7–5.2 × 107 m3 or 85–100% of the 1997 eruption volume. We propose that the supply rate decreased in response to the diminishing pressure gradient between the shallow storage zone and a deeper magma source region. Eventually the effects of continuing magma supply and vesiculation of stored magma caused a critical pressure threshold to be exceeded, triggering the 2008 eruption. A similar pattern of initially rapid inflation followed by oscillatory but generally slowing inflation was observed prior to the 1997 eruption. In both cases, withdrawal of magma during the eruptions depressurized the shallow storage zone, causing significant volcano-wide subsidence and initiating a new intereruption deformation cycle.
Additional publication details
Ground surface deformation patterns, magma supply, and magma storage at Okmok volcano, Alaska, from InSAR analysis: 1. Intereruption deformation, 1997–2008