The ups and downs of volcanic unrest: Insights from integrated geodesy and numerical modelling
Advances in Volcanology
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Volcanic eruptions are often preceded by small changes in the shape of the volcano. Such volcanic deformation may be measured using precise surveying techniques and analysed to better understand volcanic processes. Complicating the matter is the fact that deformation events (e.g., inflation or deflation) may result from magmatic, non-magmatic or mixed/hybrid sources. Using spatial and temporal patterns in volcanic deformation data and mathematical models it is possible to infer the location and strength of the subsurface driving mechanism. This can provide essential information to inform hazard assessment, risk mitigation and eruption forecasting. However, most generic models over-simplify their representation of the crustal conditions in which the deformation source resides. We present work from a selection of studies that employ advanced numerical models to interpret deformation and gravity data. These incorporate crustal heterogeneity, topography, viscoelastic rheology and the influence of temperature, to constrain unrest source parameters at Uturuncu (Bolivia), Cotopaxi (Ecuador), Soufrière Hills (Montserrat), and Teide (Tenerife) volcanoes. Such model complexities are justified by geophysical, geological, and petrological constraints. Results highlight how more realistic crustal mechanical conditions alter the way stress and strain are partitioned in the subsurface. This impacts inferred source locations and magmatic pressures, and demonstrates how generic models may produce misleading interpretations due to their simplified assumptions. Further model results are used to infer quantitative and qualitative estimates of magma supply rate and mechanism, respectively. The simultaneous inclusion of gravity data alongside deformation measurements may additionally allow the magmatic or non-magmatic nature of the source to be characterised. Together, these results highlight how models with more realistic, and geophysically consistent, components can improve our understanding of the mechanical processes affecting volcanic unrest and geodetic eruption precursors, to aid eruption forecasting, hazard assessment and risk mitigation.
s Work presented herein has received funding by the European Commission (FP7; Theme: ENV.2011.1.3.3-1; Grant 282759: VUELCO).
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Hickey J., Gottsmann J., Mothes P., Odbert H., Prutkin I., Vajda P. (2017) The Ups and Downs of Volcanic Unrest: Insights from Integrated Geodesy and Numerical Modelling. In: . Advances in Volcanology. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg