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Rhyolitic volcano dynamics in the Southern Andes: Contributions from 17 years of InSAR observations at Cordón Caulle volcano from 2003 to 2020

Abstract : In this article I present a review of InSAR observations of ground deformation at Cordón Caulle volcano, whose 2011–2012 VEI 4-5 eruption is the best scientifically observed and instrumentally recorded rhyolitic eruption to date. I document a complete cycle of pre-eruptive uplift, co-eruptive subsidence and post-eruptive uplift with InSAR data between March 2003 and May 2020, and produced by a complex interplay of magmatic processes. Pre-eruptive data show 0.5 m of ground uplift in three distinct episodes between 2003 and 2011, with uplift rates between 3 and 30 cm/yr. The uplift was likely caused by magma injection resulting in pressurization of the magmatic system at depths of 4–9 km. Data spanning the first 3 days of the eruption show 1.5 m of deflation produced by two distinct sources at 4–6 km depth located 18 km from each other and up to 10 km from the eruptive vent -- suggesting hydraulic connectivity of a large magma mush zone. A third source of deformation was recorded during the rest of the eruption at a depth of km, resulting in a total subsidence of 4.2 m during the whole eruption. On a much smaller spatial scale (25 km2), InSAR-derived digital elevation models recorded 250 m of uplift in the area of the eruptive vent interpreted as the intrusion of a shallow laccolith during the first 2.5 months of the eruption and time averaged lava discharge rates up to 150 m3/s. The co-eruptive time series of reservoir pressure drop and extruded volume follow exponential trends that can be explained by a model of magma reservoir depressurization and conduit flow. Since the end of the eruption, the surface of the volcano was uplifted 1 m in a sequence of three transient episodes of unrest during 2012 and 2019, with uplift rates between 6 and 45 cm/yr and lasting between 0.5 and 3.2 years. These pulses can be modeled by the same source, a sub-horizontal sill at a depth of 6 km. Viscoelastic relaxation is not significant on these time scales, hence I interpret these uplift signals as being produced by episodic pulses of magma injection in the crystal mush that likely underlies the volcano. The episodic and abrupt changes of the ground deformation suggest a restless trans-lateral magmatic system at depths of 4–9 km, and active across multiple spatial and temporal scales. Finally, I also discuss challenges of the InSAR technology that should be addressed to detect ground deformation on short time scales, particularly under the low coherence conditions of Cordón Caulle.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - 10:51:09 AM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 12:01:08 PM
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Francisco Delgado. Rhyolitic volcano dynamics in the Southern Andes: Contributions from 17 years of InSAR observations at Cordón Caulle volcano from 2003 to 2020. Journal of South American Earth Sciences, Elsevier, 2020, In press, pp.102841. ⟨10.1016/j.jsames.2020.102841⟩. ⟨insu-03033048⟩



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