Volcano Watch: Volcano monitoring from space: InSAR time series success in Alaska

In a recent “Volcano Watch” article, we learned about a remote sensing technique known as InSAR. This method of using satellite radar signals to detect changes to the surface of the Earth has been very beneficial for the monitoring of active volcanoes, especially in remote locations where it is difficult to install ground-based geophysical sensors. One such place where InSAR recently proved instrumental in detecting deformation of a volcano previously considered inactive was in Southeast Alaska.

Today’s family of 5 USGS volcano observatories began with HVO over 111 years ago

HVO staff has grown from one geologist, Thomas A. Jaggar, in 1912 to more than 30 people today. This team includes scientists and specialists in geology, geophysics, geochemistry, field engineering and telemetry, information technology, administration, public communications and more. Hundreds of volunteers, students, and visiting scientists—many from the University of Hawai’i—have also provided valuable assistance to HVO through the years.

Volcano Watch: The missing slow slip events on Kilauea’s south flank

Over the past two decades, both scientists and members of the public have anticipated the occurrence of slow slip events (SSEs) on Kilauea’s south flank. These events are recorded by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s (HVO) continuous GPS network, which show as much as 2 cm (0.75 inches) of increased seaward motion of the flank over 2-3 days—equivalent to about a M6 earthquake.

Volcano Watch: Comparing crises — Mauna Loa 1984 vs. Mauna Loa 2022

Despite the development of new volcano monitoring techniques, decades between the eruptions meant there were many uncertainties leading to the recent eruption. Did the unrest observed during the fall of 2022 mean an eruption would certainly occur? How soon would modern monitoring signals show signs of an imminent eruption?