The goal of the project is to use space-geodetic methods to search for precursory inflation at volcanoes in Southeast Asia. Indonesia and the Philippines are home for about 15% of the world?s active volcanoes, which are responsible for some of the largest known historic eruptions, including the climate-changing 1815 Tabora, the 1883 Krakatoa and the 1991 Pinatubo eruptions. Volcanic eruptions are inevitably preceded by the ascent of new magma to shallow storage levels, resulting in swelling of the ground surface, which is observable with satellites. The detection of inflation could pin-point to volcanoes, which are more likely to erupt in the near future.
We will use Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) observations from a variety of international SAR satellites. The data sources include the Japanese ALOS-1 satellite which operated from 2007 to 2011, and the European Sentinel-1 and Japanese ALOS-2 satellites which are both scheduled for launch in early 2014. Our objective is to develop a 10-year inventory of deforming volcanoes for the region. Scientific questions this project will address include weather all or only particular types of volcanoes exhibit precursory inflation, whether inflation occurs immediately prior to an eruption and for how long, and how much inflation a volcano can sustain without eruption, and what are the controls for the ascent of magma towards the surface and for the depth of magma storage. We also will combine the satellite observations with ground-based observations of the Indonesian Volcanological Survey and the Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology in an effort to improve models for the magma plumbing systems of actively deforming volcanoes. This project will contribute to the development of the Southeast Asia Geohazard Natural Laboratory as part of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).