Okmok volcano, located in the central Aleutian arc, Alaska, is a dominantly basaltic complex topped with a 10-km-wide caldera that formed circa 2.05 ka. Okmok erupted several times during the 20th century, most recently in 1997; eruptions in 1945, 1958, and 1997 produced lava flows within the caldera. We used 80 interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) images (interferograms) to study transient deformation of the volcano before, during, and after the 1997 eruption. Point source models suggest that a magma reservoir at a depth of 3.2 km below sea level, located beneath the center of the caldera and about 5 km northeast of the 1997 vent, is responsible for observed volcano-wide deformation. The preeruption uplift rate decreased from about 10 cm yr-1 during 1992-1993 to 2 ??? 3 cm yr-1 during 1993-1995 and then to about -1 ??? -2 cm yr-1 during 1995-1996. The posteruption inflation rate generally decreased with time during 1997-2001, but increased significantly during 2001-2003. By the summer of 2003, 30 ??? 60% of the magma volume lost from the reservoir in the 1997 eruption had been replenished. Interferograms for periods before the 1997 eruption indicate consistent subsidence of the surface of the 1958 lava flows, most likely due to thermal contraction. Interferograms for periods after the eruption suggest at least four distinct deformation processes: (1) volcano-wide inflation due to replenishment of the shallow magma reservoir, (2) subsidence of the 1997 lava flows, most likely due to thermal contraction, (3) deformation of the 1958 lava flows due to loading by the 1997 flows, and (4) continuing subsidence of 1958 lava flows buried beneath 1997 flows. Our results provide insights into the postemplacement behavior of lava flows and have cautionary implications for the interpretation of inflation patterns at active volcanoes.
Additional publication details
Interferometric synthetic aperture radar study of Okmok volcano, Alaska, 1992-2003: Magma supply dynamics and postemplacement lava flow deformation