Mapping recent lava flows at Westdahl Volcano, Alaska, using radar and optical satellite imagery

Remote Sensing of Environment
By: , and 



Field mapping of young lava flows at Aleutian volcanoes is logistically difficult, and the utility of optical images from aircraft or satellites for this purpose is greatly reduced by persistent cloud cover. These factors have hampered earlier estimates of the areas and volumes of three young lava flows at Westdahl Volcano, including its most recent (1991–1992) flow. We combined information from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images with multispectral Landsat-7 data to differentiate the 1991–1992 flow from the 1964 flow and a pre-1964 flow, and to calculate the flow areas (8.4, 9.2, and 7.3 km2, respectively). By differencing a digital elevation model (DEM) from the 1970–1980s with a DEM from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) in February 2000, we estimated the average thickness of the 1991–1992 flow to be 13 m, which reasonably agrees with field observations (5–10 m). Lava-flow maps produced in this way can be used to facilitate field mapping and flow-hazards assessment, and to study magma-supply dynamics and thus to anticipate future eruptive activity. Based on the recurrence interval of recent eruptions and the results of this study, the next eruption at Westdahl may occur before the end of this decade.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Mapping recent lava flows at Westdahl Volcano, Alaska, using radar and optical satellite imagery
Series title Remote Sensing of Environment
DOI 10.1016/j.rse.2004.03.015
Volume 91
Issue 3-4
Year Published 2004
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, Volcano Hazards Program
Description 9 p.
First page 345
Last page 353
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Westdahl Volcano
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional metadata about this publication, not found in other parts of the page is in this table