Volcanic mass flows, including lava, pyroclastic density currents, and lahars, account for the bulk of fatalities and infrastructure damage caused by volcanic eruptions. Mapping these flows soon after their emplacement is vital to understanding their impact and to forecasting the likely behavior of potential future flows. Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) can provide useful information about surface properties and changes regardless of environmental conditions or time of day, but no individual SAR product can unambiguously detect and map surface mass flows in all conditions. Combining SAR products, however, can capitalize on the strengths and compensate for the weaknesses of individual data types. SAR volcanic flow maps (SAR VFMs) merge cross-polarized amplitude imagery from two different dates with interferometric coherence spanning those dates. The combination of amplitude change with coherence provides a means of detecting volcanic mass flows regardless of surface conditions, and data collected by satellite provide the spatial coverage needed to detect changes over broad areas. Application to eruptions of Kīlauea (Hawaiʻi), Nyiragongo (Democratic Republic of Congo), Sinabung (Indonesia), and Fuego (Guatemala) demonstrate the value of SAR VFMs for monitoring hazardous volcanic activity, and the importance of acquiring cross-polarized satellite SAR imagery for volcano applications. The ever-growing number of public and private satellite SAR missions will provide for improved temporal resolution in SAR VFMs in the future, and the technique may be suitable for automated analysis that is capable of timely identification of changes due to volcanic activity, even in areas that are otherwise unmonitored.
|Title||Synthetic aperture radar volcanic flow maps (SAR VFMs): A simple method for rapid identification and mapping of volcanic mass flows|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Bulletin of Volcanology|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Volcano Science Center|