Bulletin of Volcanology

, 71:1091 | Cite as

Continuing inflation at Three Sisters volcanic center, central Oregon Cascade Range, USA, from GPS, leveling, and InSAR observations

  • Daniel DzurisinEmail author
  • Michael Lisowski
  • Charles W. Wicks
Research Article


Uplift of a broad area centered ~6 km west of the summit of South Sister volcano started in September 1997 (onset estimated from model discussed in this paper) and was continuing when surveyed in August 2006. Surface displacements were measured whenever possible since August 1992 with satellite radar interferometry (InSAR), annually since August 2001 with GPS and leveling surveys, and with continuous GPS since May 2001. The average maximum displacement rate from InSAR decreased from 3–5 cm/yr during 1998–2001 to ~1.4 cm/yr during 2004–2006. The other datasets show a similar pattern, i.e., surface uplift and extension rates decreased over time but deformation continued through August 2006. Our best-fit model to the deformation data is a vertical, prolate, spheroidal point-pressure source located 4.9–5.4 km below the surface. The source inflation rate decreased exponentially during 2001–2006 with a 1/e decay time of 5.3 ± 1.1 years. The net increase in source volume from September 1997 to August 2006 was 36.5–41.9 x 106 m3. A swarm of ~300 small (M max = 1.9) earthquakes occurred beneath the deforming area in March 2004; no other unusual seismicity has been noted. Similar deformation episodes in the past probably would have gone unnoticed if, as we suspect, most are small intrusions that do not culminate in eruptions.


Three Sisters South Sister Cascade Range Volcanology Geodesy Radar interferometry InSAR GPS Leveling Deformation Uplift 



Radar data used in this study were provided by the European Space Agency and Canadian Space Agency. Falk Amelung, John Langbein, William E. Scott, and an anonymous reviewer provided constructive reviews of the manuscript that led to revision and improvement of early drafts. Zhong Lu derived the relationship between vertical surface displacement and range changes observed in coeval ascending and descending interferograms. This research was supported by the USGS Volcano Hazards Program at its David A. Johnston Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington, and at its Western Region Headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Use of trade names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Geological Survey.


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Copyright information

© US Government 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Dzurisin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael Lisowski
    • 1
  • Charles W. Wicks
    • 2
  1. 1.David A. Johnston Cascades Volcano ObservatoryU.S. Geological SurveyVancouverUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Geological SurveyMenlo ParkUSA

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