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Dramatic volcanic instability revealed by InSAR

Schaefer, L. N., Z. Lu, and T. Oommen (2015), Dramatic volcanic instability revealed by InSAR, For permission to copy, contact editing@geosociety.org., 43, 743-746, doi:10.1130/G36678.1.

Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) was used to measure ground deformation during explosive eruptions on 27 and 28 May 2010 at Pacaya volcano, Guatemala. Interferograms produced using spaceborne and airborne synthetic aperture radar data reveal ~3 m of along-slope movement of the southwest sector of the edifice during these eruptions. This is the largest measured slope instability witnessed in a single event at a volcano that did not result in a catastrophic landslide. This rapid and extreme movement is particularly concerning given the history of sector collapse and persistent activity at this volcano. These findings emphasize the utility of high-resolution InSAR measurements for monitoring deformation and potential catastrophic slope instability at volcanoes.

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