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Applications of geophysical methods to volcano monitoring

May 1, 2006
The array of geophysical technologies used in volcano hazards studies - some developed originally only for volcano monitoring - ranges from satellite remote sensing including InSAR to leveling and EDM surveys, campaign and telemetered GPS networks, electronic tiltmeters and strainmeters, airborne magnetic and electromagnetic surveys, short-period and broadband seismic monitoring, even microphones tuned for infrasound. They include virtually every method used in resource exploration except large-scale seismic reflection. By “geophysical ” we include both active and passive methods as well as geodetic technologies. Volcano monitoring incorporates telemetry to handle high-bandwith cameras and broadband seismometers. Critical geophysical targets include the flux of magma in shallow reservoir and lava-tube systems, changes in active hydrothermal systems, volcanic edifice stability, and lahars. Since the eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington State in 1980, and the eruption at Pu’u O’o in Hawai’i beginning in 1983 and still continuing, dramatic advances have occurred in monitoring technology such as “crisis GIS” and lahar modeling, InSAR interferograms, as well as gas emission geochemistry sampling, and hazards mapping and eruption predictions. The on-going eruption of Mount St. Helens has led to new monitoring technologies, including advances in broadband Wi-Fi and satellite telemetry as well as new instrumentation. Assessment of the gap between adequate monitoring and threat at the 169 potentially dangerous Holocene volcanoes shows where populations are dangerously exposed to volcanic catastrophes in the United States and its territories . This paper focuses primarily on Hawai’ian volcanoes and the northern Pacific and Cascades volcanoes. The US Geological Survey, the US National Park System, and the University of Utah cooperate in a program to monitor the huge Yellowstone volcanic system, and a separate observatory monitors the restive Long Valley caldera in collaboration with the US Forest Service. 

Citation Information

Publication Year 2006
Title Applications of geophysical methods to volcano monitoring
Authors Jeff Wynn, Daniel Dzurisin, Carol A. Finn, James P. Kauahikaua, Richard G. Lahusen
Publication Type Conference Paper
Index ID 70176754
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Volcano Hazards Program