Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 61, Issue 1–2, pp 92–105 | Cite as

Application of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery to volcano mapping in the humid tropics: a case study in East Java, Indonesia

  • Simon A. Carn


 Volcanoes in humid tropical environments are frequently cloud covered, typically densely vegetated and rapidly eroded. These factors complicate field and laboratory studies and even the basic identification of potentially active volcanoes. Numerous previous studies have highlighted the potential value of radar remote sensing for volcanology in equatorial regions. Here, cloud- and vegetation-penetrating LHH-band (λ≈24 cm) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data from the Japanese Earth Resources Satellite (JERS-1) are used to investigate persistently active volcanoes and prehistoric calderas in East Java, Indonesia. The LHH-band JERS-1 SAR produces high-spatial-resolution (18 m) imagery with relatively high incidence angle that highlights structures and topographic variations at or greater than the wavelength scale while minimising geometrical distortions such as layover and foreshortening. These images, along with Internet browse data derived from the Canadian RADARSAT mission, provide new evidence relating regional tectonics to volcanism throughout East Java. Volcanic events, such as caldera collapse at the Tengger caldera, appear to have been partly controlled by northwest-aligned faults related to intra-arc sedimentary basins. Similar regional controls appear important at historically active Lamongan volcano, which is encircled by numerous flank maars and cinder cones. A previously undocumented pyroclastic sheet and debris avalanche deposit from the Jambangan caldera complex is also manifested in the synoptic radar images. At the currently active Semeru volcano these data permit identification of recent pyroclastic flow and lahar deposits. Radar data therefore offer a valuable tool for mapping and hazard assessment at late Quaternary volcanoes. The criteria developed in the analysis here could be applied to other regions in the humid tropics.

Key words Synthetic aperture radar East Java Caldera Lahar Remote sensing 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon A. Carn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth Sciences, Cambridge University, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EQ, UK Fax: +44 1223 333450 e-mail:

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