Using conceptual models to relate multiparameter satellite data to subsurface volcanic processes in Latin America

Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
By: , and 



Satellite data have been extensively used to identify volcanic behavior. However, the physical subsurface processes causing any individual manifestation of activity can be ambiguous. We propose a classification scheme for the cause of unrest that simultaneously considers three multiparameter satellite observations. The scheme is based on characteristics of the volcanic system (open, closed, and eruptive) and unrest mechanisms (intrusion, evolution, and withdrawal) occurring at shallow depths in the volcanic system. We applied these models to satellite observations acquired at 47 of the most active volcanoes in Latin America. Of the volcanoes studied, 44 had a robust enough dataset for classification and were clustered into 4 groups and 10 subgroups with common behavioral characteristics. By identifying that these volcanoes can be clustered into a number of groupings significantly less than the number of volcanoes, we have demonstrated that commonalities in behavior patterns exist among diverse volcanic systems. Identifying volcanoes with similar characteristics underpins the use of past observations at one volcano to forecast activity at another and diverges from typical volcanic groupings, which are focused on geologic parameters (i.e., composition, volcano type, and tectonic setting). Based on satellite data alone, we have identified preeruptive intrusion prior to 15 eruptions at 12 different volcanoes, magma evolution prior to 18 eruptions at 13 volcanoes, and magma withdrawal at 3 eruptions and 3 volcanoes. Improvements to the spatial and temporal resolution are needed to make these relations robust. This classification scheme provides a framework for future automated clustering of volcanoes.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Using conceptual models to relate multiparameter satellite data to subsurface volcanic processes in Latin America
Series title Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
DOI 10.1029/2019GC008494
Volume 21
Issue 2
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Volcano Science Center, John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis
Description e2019GC008494, 26 p.
Other Geospatial Latin America
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