Bulletin of Volcanology

, 81:18 | Cite as

Magma storage and diking revealed by GPS and InSAR geodesy at Pacaya volcano, Guatemala

  • Hans N. LechnerEmail author
  • Christelle Wauthier
  • Gregory P. Waite
  • Rudiger Escobar-Wolf
Research Article


GPS measurements from a campaign network at Pacaya volcano, Guatemala, occupied from 2009 to 2015 were combined with InSAR data from 2013 to 2014 to model deformation sources for two eruptive time periods: 2009–2011 and 2013–2014. The GPS data for both of these time periods show downward vertical and outward horizontal deformation greater than 25 cm at several stations surrounding the volcano, while InSAR data shows up to 15-cm line-of-sight displacement. To better understand the dynamics of the magma storage system and sources of deformation, we inverted available geodetic data for these two periods. Our analytical modeling suggests that horizontal deformation was dominated by inflation of a shallow, subvertical dike, high within the volcanic edifice, while deflation of a deeper, spherical source embedded below the NW flank of the volcano occurred during at least part of the observation period. The source parameters for the dike feature are in good agreement with the observed alignment of recent eruptive vents, while parameters for the deeper, spherical source accommodate the downward vertical deformation observed at stations on and around the volcano.


Volcano geodesy GPS Pacaya Deformation Modeling Inversion Magma plumbing system 



We thank Dr. Chuck Demets at UW Madison for the advice on GPS, Dr. Peter LaFemina and Andres Gorki Ruiz Paspuel at Penn State for thoughtful discussions and GPS analysis, Brianna Hetland for collecting some of these data, INSIVUMEH, Park Police, and local guides in Guatemala for field support. The authors also thank the two anonymous reviewers and assistant editor Dr. Sylvie Vergniolle for their work and input to improve the quality of this manuscript.

Funding information

UNAVCO provided some equipment; Lechner was partially supported by UNAVCO/COCONet grant EAR-1042906 and NSF grants 0530109 and 1053794. Dr. Wauthier was supported by grants NNX17AD70G and NNX16AK87G issued through NASA’s Science Mission Directorates Earth Science Division.

Supplementary material

445_2019_1277_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (145 kb)
Fig. S1 One-dimensional marginal probability density functions for the McTigue (labeled “a”) and Okada labeled (labeled “b”), two-source models for Time-Period-A. Shaded area represents the 95% confidence intervals. (JPG 145 kb)
445_2019_1277_MOESM2_ESM.jpg (150 kb)
Fig. S2 One-dimensional marginal probability density functions for the McTigue (labeled “a”) and Okada labeled (labeled “b”), two-source models for Time-Period-B. Shaded area represents the 95% confidence intervals. (JPG 150 kb)
445_2019_1277_MOESM3_ESM.jpg (166 kb)
Fig. S3 Two-dimensional marginal probability density functions for TBA. Gray shaded regions indicate the contours of the misfit values with a contour interval 0.2 time the maximum value. Axis label abbreviations and units are as follows. P0: Pressure gradient of sphere (MPa), D1: depth of sphere (m), E1: easting (UTM) of sphere (× 105 m), N1: northing (UTM) of sphere (× 106 m), U: opening of dike feather (m), W: width of dike opening (m), L length of dike opening (m), S°: strike of dike, D°: dip of dike, E2: easting UTM of lower left corner of dike (× 105 m), N2: northing of lower left corner of dike (× 105 m), D2: depth of lower left corner of dike (m) (JPG 165 kb)
445_2019_1277_MOESM4_ESM.jpg (164 kb)
Fig. S4 Two-dimensional marginal probability density functions for TBB. Gray shaded regions indicate the contours of the misfit values with a contour interval 0.2 time the maximum value. Axis label abbreviations and units are as follows. P0: Pressure gradient of sphere (MPa), D1: depth of sphere (m), E1: easting (UTM) of sphere (× 105 m), N1: northing (UTM) of sphere (x 106m), U: opening of dike feather (m), W: width of dike opening (m), L length of dike opening (m), S°: strike of dike, D°: dip of dike, E2: easting UTM of lower left corner of dike (x 105m), N2: northing of lower left corner of dike (x 105m), D2: depth of lower left corner of dike (m) (JPG 164 kb)
445_2019_1277_MOESM5_ESM.jpg (176 kb)
Fig. S5 Map view of our modeled spherical dike sources for both TPA and TPB compared to those modeled by Wnuk and Wauthier (2017). Gray features represent the models from this study. Red features represent the model presented by Wnuk and Wauthier. Red rectangles indicate 95% confidence areas. Green rectangles with double black line indicate 95% confidence areas for time-period A. Blue rectangles with hash outline represent 95% confidence areas for time-period B. Confidence areas for dike features modeled in this work represent X and Y position of lower left corner. (JPG 176 kb)
445_2019_1277_MOESM6_ESM.xlsx (17 kb)
Table S1 (XLSX 17 kb)
445_2019_1277_MOESM7_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Table S2 Acquisition dates for interferograms used in this study (DOCX 12 kb)
445_2019_1277_MOESM8_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Table S3 Best fit parameters and 95% confidence intervals for TPB in this study compared to those from Wnuk and Wauthier (2017). (DOCX 16 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Association of Volcanology & Chemistry of the Earth's Interior 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans N. Lechner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christelle Wauthier
    • 2
    • 3
  • Gregory P. Waite
    • 1
  • Rudiger Escobar-Wolf
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and SciencesMichigan Technological UniversityHoughtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeosciencesThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.Institute for CyberscienceThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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