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Slow Deformation of Mt. Baekdu Stratovolcano Observed by Satellite Radar Interferometry

Sang-Wan Kim(1) and Joong-Sun Won(1)

(1) Yonsei University, 134 Shinchon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, 120-749 Seoul, Korea, Republic of


Mt. Baekdu is a historically active stratovolcano (60 km in diameter) located on the border between China and North Korea. A major eruption took place at 96820 A.D., which was one of the largest eruptions ever since the human history. Mt. Baekdu has been dormant since the last eruption in 1702. However, gaseous emissions, hot springs and minor earthquakes have been reported recently. Some Chinese scientists believe that the volcano is bulging extremely slowly (about 5 mm per year). A summit caldera is 5-km-wide and 850-m-deep and is filled by a lake. Most surrounding areas are covered with vegetation and forest except the summit of volcano. Interferometric pairs having long temporal baselines are indispensable for monitoring presumable long-term slow deformation. In this study, ERS-1/2 (Track/Frame: 146/2763 and 375/2763) and JERS-1 (Path/Raw: 89- 230 and 88-230) SAR data sets were used to detect surface deformation possibly occurred in Mt. Baekdu for a 10-year period (from 1992 to 2002). To apply differential interferometry, a high resolution DEM was obtained by refining low resolution DEM using interferograms of short span. A series of interferograms has been constructed. Many interferograms were contaminated by atmosphere and/or snow. The mountain is usually covered with snow during the period between late October and the next year June, and a few cloud-free weather conditions are very rare. We have investigated primarily the pairs of summer seasons acquired during the period from late June to September. For large-scale deformation fields, tropospheric delay may produce volcano- wide effects up to 5 cm. To discriminate tropospheric effect from interferometric pairs, GMS and NOAA data are utilized. Specifically GMS data sets acquired within 30 minutes of JERS-1 and ERS SAR acquisition were very useful. We compared the results derived from different JERS-1 tracks and those from C- and L-band measurements. Although it is difficult to determine the velocity of the deformation, the results consistently indicate that a slow and upward moving deformation is in progress around the volcano.


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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