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The 2007–8 volcanic eruption on Jebel at Tair island (Red Sea) observed by satellite radar and optical images

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Abstract

We use high-resolution optical images and Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) data to study the September 2007–January 2008 Jebel at Tair eruption. Comparison of pre- and post-eruption optical images reveals several fresh ground fissures, a new scoria cone near the summit, and that 5.9 ± 0.1 km2 of new lava covered about half of the island. Decorrelation in the InSAR images indicates that lava flowed both to the western and to the northeastern part of the island after the start of the eruption, while later lavas were mainly deposited near the summit and onto the north flank of the volcano. From the InSAR data, we also estimate that the average thickness of the lava flows is 3.8 m, resulting in a bulk volume of around 2.2 × 107 m3. We observe no volcano-wide pre- or post-eruption uplift, which suggests that the magma source may be deep. The co-eruption interferograms, on the other hand, reveal local and rather complex deformation. We use these observations to constrain a tensile dislocation model that represents the dike intrusion that fed the eruption. The model results show that the orientation of the dike is perpendicular to the Red Sea rift, implying that the local stresses within the volcanic edifice are decoupled from the regional stress field.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Jamal Sholan (Seismological & Volcanological Observatory of Yemen) for providing information about the Jebel at Tair eruption. We also thank Talfan Barnie (University of Cambridge), Eleonora Rivalta (GFZ Potsdam), Guangcai Feng (KAUST), Teng Wang (KAUST), and Chong Chen (KAUST) for useful discussions, as well as Ahmet Akoglu (KAUST) for help with the GMT software (Wessel and Smith 1998), which was used to prepare Fig. 1a. Comments made by the editor, Matthew R. Patrick, as well as by Juliet Biggs, William W. Chadwick, and one anonymous reviewer helped to improve the manuscript. The European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) provided the SAR images used in this study through ESA category-1 project #6703. The TanDEM-X images were provided by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) through project XTI_GEOL3441.

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Correspondence to Wenbin Xu.

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Xu, W., Jónsson, S. The 2007–8 volcanic eruption on Jebel at Tair island (Red Sea) observed by satellite radar and optical images. Bull Volcanol 76, 795 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00445-014-0795-9

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