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The magma reservoir of Mauna Loa volcano, Hawaii: Constraints from InSAR measurements

Falk Amelung(1) and Thomas Walter(1)

(1) University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, 33149, United States


Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii is among the most active volcanoes on Earth and a natural laboratory for volcano dynamics. Geodetic measurements of the deformation of the volcanic edifice before, during, and after the last eruption in 1984 have profoundly formed our understanding of how basaltic volcanoes work.

After a ~10 year period of summit deflation, a new episode of summit inflation on Mauna Loa volcano started in May 2002. Continuous GPS measurements detected lengthening of a baseline across the summit caldera at a rate of ~20 cm/yr. The rate of lengthening decreased in November 2002 to ~8 cm/yr. Summit inflation is caused by the arrival of new magma in the summit reservoir and provides an opportunity to constrain key features of this magma reservoir.

We present interferometric geodetic data of this inflation period and discuss elastic models to constrain the location, shape, and size of the magma reservoir. The data are derived from imagery acquired by the ERS and Radarsat satellites. The interferograms show up to ~10 cm inflation since May 2002. The center of inflation is located ~4 km east of the summit caldera. This suggests that this is also the location of the magma reservoir and that the volcano does not has a central magma reservoir beneath the summit caldera.


Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry