Shishaldin Volcano, a large, frequently active basaltic-andesite volcano located on Unimak Island in the Aleutian Arc of Alaska, had a minor eruption in 1995-1996 and a VEI 3 sub-Plinian basaltic eruption in 1999. We used 21 synthetic aperture radar images acquired by ERS-1, ERS-2, JERS-1, and RADARSAT-1 satellites to construct 12 coherent interferograms that span most of the 1993-2003 time interval. All interferograms lack coherence within ???5 km of the summit, primarily due to persistent snow and ice cover on the edifice. Remarkably, in the 5-15 km distance range where interferograms are coherent, the InSAR images show no intrusion- or withdrawal-related deformation at Shishaldin during this entire time period. However, several InSAR images do show deformation associated with a shallow ML 5.2 earthquake located ???14 km west of Shishaldin that occurred 6 weeks before the 1999 eruption. We use a theoretical model to predict deformation magnitudes due to a volumetric expansion source having a volume equivalent to the 1999 erupted volume, and find that deformation magnitudes for sources shallower than 10 km are within the expected detection capabilities for interferograms generated from C-band ERS 1/2 and RADARSAT-1 synthetic aperture radar images. We also find that InSAR images cannot resolve relatively shallow deformation sources (1-2 km below sea level) due to spatial gaps in the InSAR images caused by lost coherence. The lack of any deformation, particularly for the 1999 eruption, leads us to speculate that magma feeding eruptions at the summit moves rapidly (at least 80m/day) from >10 km depth, and that the intrusion-eruption cycle at Shishaldin does not produce significant permanent deformation at the surface.
Additional publication details
On the absence of InSAR-detected volcano deformation spanning the 1995-1996 and 1999 eruptions of Shishaldin Volcano, Alaska