Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 172, Issue 11, pp 3229–3245 | Cite as

Shallow Hydrothermal Pressurization before the 2010 Eruption of Mount Sinabung Volcano, Indonesia, Observed by use of ALOS Satellite Radar Interferometry

  • Pablo J. González
  • Keshav D. Singh
  • Kristy F. Tiampo


Ground deformation in volcanic regions can be a precursor to resumption of activity. Volcanic eruptions are typically brief periods of activity punctuating very long inter-eruptive periods. This makes hazard evaluation a difficult task for volcanoes with low-recurrence eruptive activity, which often are poorly monitored. As a result, analysis of inter-eruptive periods by use of remote sensing techniques can provide important information on precursory activity and improve volcano hazard assessment. In August–September 2010 Mt Sinabung, Indonesia, reawakened after at least 400 years of dormancy. The ground deformation before this eruption was investigated by use of differential interferometric synthetic aperture radar data obtained from Japanese ALOS-PALSAR radar imagery between 05 January 2007 and 31 August 2010. Results from InSAR time series processing detected significant ground deformation (subsidence) at several locations on the Karo plateau, and uplift in the summit area of Mt Sinabung. The persistent scatterers density obtained by use of ALOS data is sufficient to enable extraction of temporal and spatial patterns of the deformation. The surface deformation at the summit can be modeled by using a spherical point-source model. Source data are consistent with a very shallow (hydrothermal) reservoir, with a linear increase in overpressure before the 2010 Mt Sinabung eruption. Hydrothermal origin is consistent with seismicity, tiltmeters, and analysis of ash products collected during and after the 2010 eruption. These results support the potential of L-band interferometry for hazard assessment in poorly monitored and highly vegetated volcanic areas and also indicate that hazard assessment for Indonesian volcanoes could potentially be improved by identification of precursory (inter-eruptive) uplift periods.


InSAR persistent scatterer analysis time series analysis volcano monitoring ground deformation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pablo J. González
    • 1
    • 2
  • Keshav D. Singh
    • 3
  • Kristy F. Tiampo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  2. 2.Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics, School of Earth and EnvironmentUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  3. 3.Department of Earth SciencesIndian Institute of Technology BombayMumbaiIndia

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