Applications of geophysical methods to volcano monitoring

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The array of geophysical technologies used in volcano hazards studies - some developed originally only for volcano monitoring - ranges from satellite remote sensing including InSAR to leveling and EDM surveys, campaign and telemetered GPS networks, electronic tiltmeters and strainmeters, airborne magnetic and electromagnetic surveys, short-period and broadband seismic monitoring, even microphones tuned for infrasound. They include virtually every method used in resource exploration except large-scale seismic reflection. By “geophysical ” we include both active and passive methods as well as geodetic technologies. Volcano monitoring incorporates telemetry to handle high-bandwith cameras and broadband seismometers. Critical geophysical targets include the flux of magma in shallow reservoir and lava-tube systems, changes in active hydrothermal systems, volcanic edifice stability, and lahars. Since the eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington State in 1980, and the eruption at Pu’u O’o in Hawai’i beginning in 1983 and still continuing, dramatic advances have occurred in monitoring technology such as “crisis GIS” and lahar modeling, InSAR interferograms, as well as gas emission geochemistry sampling, and hazards mapping and eruption predictions. The on-going eruption of Mount St. Helens has led to new monitoring technologies, including advances in broadband Wi-Fi and satellite telemetry as well as new instrumentation. Assessment of the gap between adequate monitoring and threat at the 169 potentially dangerous Holocene volcanoes shows where populations are dangerously exposed to volcanic catastrophes in the United States and its territories . This paper focuses primarily on Hawai’ian volcanoes and the northern Pacific and Cascades volcanoes. The US Geological Survey, the US National Park System, and the University of Utah cooperate in a program to monitor the huge Yellowstone volcanic system, and a separate observatory monitors the restive Long Valley caldera in collaboration with the US Forest Service. 

Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Title Applications of geophysical methods to volcano monitoring
ISBN 9781622760657
Volume 1
Year Published 2006
Language English
Publisher Curran Associates Inc.
Contributing office(s) Volcano Hazards Program
Description 10 p.
Larger Work Type Conference Paper
Larger Work Title 19th Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems (SAGEEP 2006): Geophysical applications for environmental and engineering hazards - Advances and constraints
First page 174
Last page 183
Conference Title 19th Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems
Conference Location Seattle, WA
Conference Date April 2-6, 2006