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Satellite radar interferometry measures deformation at Okmok Volcano

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Abstract

The center of the Okmok caldera in Alaska subsided 140 cm as a result of its February– April 1997 eruption, according to satellite data from ERS-1 and ERS-2 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) interferometry. The inferred deflationary source was located 2.7 km beneath the approximate center of the caldera using a point source deflation model. Researchers believe this source is a magma chamber about 5 km from the eruptive source vent. During the 3 years before the eruption, the center of the caldera uplifted by about 23 cm, which researchers believe was a pre-emptive inflation of the magma chamber. Scientists say such measurements demonstrate that radar interferometry is a promising spaceborne technique for monitoring remote volcanoes. Frequent, routine acquisition of images with SAR interferometry could make near realtime monitoring at such volcanoes the rule, aiding in eruption forecasting.

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