Bulletin of Volcanology

, 76:857 | Cite as

Erosion and aggradation on persistently active volcanoes—a case study from Semeru Volcano, Indonesia

  • Jean-Claude ThouretEmail author
  • Jean-François Oehler
  • Avijit Gupta
  • Akhmad Solikhin
  • Jonathan N. Procter
Research Article


Erosion processes on active volcanoes in humid climates result in some of the highest sediment yields on Earth. Episodic sediment yields after large eruptions have been evaluated, but not the long-term and continuous patterns on persistently active volcanoes. We have used high-spatial resolution satellite imagery and DEMs/DSMs along with field-based geologic mapping to assess accurately sediment budgets for the active Semeru Volcano in Java, Indonesia. Patterns of aggradation and degradation on Semeru differ from that of other active volcanoes because (1) both episodic pyroclastic density currents (PDC) and continuous supplies of tephra generate pulses of sediment, (2) sediment is transferred via cycles of aggradation and degradation that continue for >15 years in river channels after each PDC-producing eruption, and (3) rain-triggered lahars remove much greater material than fluvial transport during long, intense rainfall events. The geomorphic response of two of Semeru’s rivers to volcanic sediment migration indicates that (1) each river experiences alternating aggradation and degradation cycles following PDC-producing eruptions and (2) spatial patterns of sediment transfer are governed by geomorphic characteristics of the river reaches. Usually high degradation in the steep source reach is followed by a long bypassing middle reach. Aggradation predominates in the depositional reaches further down valley on the ring plain. Average sediment yields (103–105 t/km2/year) at persistently active volcanoes are two to three orders of magnitude lower than sediment yields after large and infrequent eruptions, but the continuous and steady sediment transfer in rivers removes more sediment on a mid-term (10 years) to long-term (30 years) basis. In contrast to the trend observed on composite cones after large and infrequent eruptions, decay of sediment yields is not exponential and river channels do not fully recover at steadily active volcanoes as episodic inputs from BAF eruptions, superimposed on the background remobilization of daily tephra, have a greater cumulative effect.


Erosion Aggradation Pyroclastics Lahar Digital elevation/surface models Semeru 



This research project has been funded by the French National Research Agency “RiskNat” Project “Laharisk” and CNES-TOSCA projects. The HSR images were funded by SPOT Image (CNES) and the STIC-ASIA (French Foreign Office) research project with CRISP, National University of Singapore. We thank S.C. Liew for supporting our work in Singapore. Thanks to N. Jasiak, MaGeo (Lille) and S. Labbé (UMR Tétis, Montpellier) for the post-treatment of Lidar-based DEMs. We thank L. Thouret, Mr. Mistari, and the Lengkong villagers for field support. This is Laboratory of Excellence ClerVolc contribution number 109.

Supplementary material

445_2014_857_MOESM10_ESM.pdf (2 mb)
App. Table A Characteristics of aerial photographs and satellite images, 2005 and 2008 low-altitude air photographs ortho-rectified, mosaicked and geo-referenced using photogrammetric techniques (MicMac tool from the French Geographical National Institute). The 2001 images and 2003 SPOT5 images were geo-referenced according to available D-GNSS data with ArcGIS (©ESRI) (PDF 2038 kb)
445_2014_857_MOESM11_ESM.pdf (1.2 mb)
App. Table B Sources of topographic data and characteristics of DEMs/DSMs used in this study. Three types of topographic models have been computed. The three DEMs as of 2006, 2007 and 2008 result from D-GNSS surveys while the two DEMs as of 2010 and 2011 were computed from Terrestrial Lidar Scanner data. The DSMs were extracted from August 2005 and August 2008 low-altitude air photos by using photogrammetric techniques. D-GNSS data were processed considering a local geodetic base termed Mistari’s house (Fig. 2) that was used during each survey to avoid any artificial variations. This base station was precisely relocated in 2007 using the geodetic monument of the Semeru Volcano Observatory in Gunung Sawur (Figs. 1 and 2). Annual 2006 to 2010 DEMs of the 2 km-long channel segment were interpolated using kriging (with Surfer, ©Golden Software). Because of the lower density of data clouds, these DEMs are 3 m gridded and only major changes in T0 to T2 terraces can be captured. The 2011 LIDAR-based DEM and the photogrammetric 2005 and 2008 DSMs were calculated with the best resolution (50 cm) allowing minor changes to be captured (Fig. 12). In order to take most of the higher density (about 200 points per m2) and precision (>5 cm) of the 2011 LIDAR cloud, the associated DEM was separately calculated under ArcGIS using triangulated irregular network (TIN) interpolation method to 50 cm grid step. Due to positioning problems, the 2010 LIDAR cloud is anomalously shifted 3 to 5 m to the ESE. The annual 2010 DEM was nevertheless computed following the procedure applied for the 2006–2008 DEMs. The LIDAR-based DEM cannot be directly compared with other DEMs but can be used to follow the geomorphic evolution of the valley (PDF 1244 kb)
445_2014_857_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (20 kb)
App. Table C Aggradation and degradation mass balance (from BAF and lahar deposits) for the Kobokan reaches between 2001 and 2003. Volumes are estimated on the basis of average thicknesses of BAF (2 m) and lahar terraces measured in the field. The average thickness has been fixed to ~0.25 m for T0, ~1 m for T1 and ~2 m for T1′ lahar terraces. See Fig. 13a for the values shown here (PDF 20 kb)
445_2014_857_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (22 kb)
App. Table D Aggradation and degradation mass balance (from BAF and lahar deposits) for the Lengkong reaches between 2001 and 2003. Results for the Lengkong reach L1 are biased because the area is hidden by an ash cloud on the 2001 SPOT4 image. See Fig. 13a for the values shown here. (PDF 21 kb)
445_2014_857_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (23 kb)
App. Table E Aggradation and degradation mass balance between 2001 and 2008 near the upper Lengkong check dam from geological mapping using 2001 and 2003 SPOT4 and SPOT5 scenes and 2005 and 2008 low-altitude air photographs. Total length is 420 m, total area is 30,890 m2. See Fig. 13b for the values shown here (PDF 22 kb)
445_2014_857_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (22 kb)
App. Table F Aggradation and degradation mass balance of the confluence area of the Kobokan and Lengkong from 2001 to 2003 based on SPOT4 images, from 2003 to 2005 based on SPOT5 image and-low altitude air photographs, and from 2005 to 2008 on geological mapping. Total length is 1070 m, total area is 270,990 m2. See Fig. 13b for the portrayed values shown here (PDF 21 kb)
445_2014_857_MOESM5_ESM.pdf (34 kb)
App. Fig A Satellite SPOT image of 2001 and two maps of the Kobokan check dam and confluence area. From the manual (above) and automated (below) mapping of BAF and lahar deposits, no major discrepancy arises between estimated volumes, thereby justifying the traditional method applied and based on SPOT images and low-altitude air photographs controlled by field observations of deposit thicknesses. The automated mapping results from ENVI (©EXELIS) segmentation algorithm (PDF 34 kb)
445_2014_857_MOESM6_ESM.pdf (33 kb)
App. Fig B The 2001 SPOT4 and 2003 SPOT5 sub-scenes show the five Kobokan reaches and the three Lengkong reaches and the derived maps (PDF 32 kb)
445_2014_857_MOESM7_ESM.pdf (1 mb)
App. Fig C Reaches K1 and L1 as shown by the 2001 SPOT4 (A) and 2003 SPOT5 (B) sub-scenes and derived geologic maps. Cloud cover in 2001 has prevented us from computing the source area with accuracy. We have used Google Earth Pro images for an estimate. The summit area is covered by recent, loose tephra acting as source zone for the SE drainage network. The reaches K1 and L1 occupy please change occupies with occupy 46 % of the summit area covered by tephra above the timberline c. 2200 ± 100 m (PDF 1047 kb)
445_2014_857_MOESM8_ESM.pdf (1.6 mb)
App. Fig D The Kobokan reach 4 as shown by the 2001 SPOT4 image (A) and 2003 SPOT5 image (B) and derived geologic maps (PDF 1624 kb)
445_2014_857_MOESM9_ESM.pdf (1.3 mb)
App. Fig E The Kobokan reach 5 as shown by the 2001 SPOT4 image (A) and 2003 SPOT5 image (B) derived geologic maps (PDF 1345 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Claude Thouret
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jean-François Oehler
    • 2
  • Avijit Gupta
    • 3
    • 6
  • Akhmad Solikhin
    • 1
    • 5
  • Jonathan N. Procter
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans, CNRS UMR6524 and IRD-R163Clermont Université, Université Blaise PascalClermont-FerrandFrance
  2. 2.ALTRAN OUEST-ATLANTIDETechnopôle Brest IroiseBrest Cedex 03France
  3. 3.School of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia
  4. 4.Volcanic Risk Solution, Institute of Natural ResourcesMassey UniversityPalmerston NorthNew Zealand
  5. 5.Center of Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation (CVGHM)BandungIndonesia
  6. 6.Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing and ProcessingNational University of SingaporeKent Ridge RoadSingapore

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