Decaying lava extrusion rate at El Reventador Volcano, Ecuador measured using high-resolution satellite radar

Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
By: , and 

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Abstract

Lava extrusion at erupting volcanoes causes rapid changes in topography and morphology on the order of tens or even hundreds of meters. Satellite radar provides a method for measuring changes in topographic height over a given time period to an accuracy of meters, either by measuring the width of radar shadow cast by steep sided features, or by measuring the difference in radar phase between two sensors separated in space. We measure height changes, and hence estimate extruded lava volume flux, at El Reventador, Ecuador, between 2011 and 2016, using data from the RADARSAT-2 and TanDEM-X satellite missions. We find that 39 new lava flows were extruded between 9 February 2012 and 24 August 2016, with a cumulative volume of 44.8M m3 dense rock equivalent and a gradually decreasing eruption rate. The average dense rock rate of lava extrusion during this time is 0.31 ± 0.02 m3 s−1, which is similar to the long-term average from 1972 to 2016. Apart from a volumetrically small dyke opening event between 9 March and 10 June 2012, lava extrusion at El Reventador is not accompanied by any significant magmatic ground deformation. We use a simple physics-based model to estimate that the volume of the magma reservoir under El Reventador is greater than 3 km3. Our lava extrusion data can be equally well fit by models representing a closed reservoir depressurising during the eruption with no magma recharge, or an open reservoir with a time-constant magma recharge rate of up to 0.35 ± 0.01 m3 s−1.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Decaying lava extrusion rate at El Reventador Volcano, Ecuador measured using high-resolution satellite radar
Series title Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
DOI 10.1002/2017JB014580
Volume 122
Issue 12
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Volcano Science Center
Description 23 p.
First page 9966
Last page 9988
Country Ecuador
Other Geospatial El Reventador Volcano