Load Stress Controls on Directional Lava Dome Growth at Volcán de Colima, Mexico

Abstract : During eruptive activity of andesitic stratovolcanoes, the extrusion of lava domes, their collapse and intermittent explosions are common volcanic hazards. Many lava domes grow in a preferred direction, in turn affecting the direction of lava flows and pyroclastic density currents. Access to active lava domes is difficult and hazardous, so detailed data characterizing lava dome growth are typically limited, keeping the processes controlling the directionality of extrusions unclear. Here we combine TerraSAR-X satellite radar observations with high-resolution airborne photogrammetry to assess morphological changes, and perform finite element modeling to investigate the impact of loading stress on shallow magma ascent directions associated with lava dome extrusion and crater formation at Volcán de Colima, México. The TerraSAR-X data, acquired in ~1-m resolution spotlight mode, enable us to derive a chronology of the eruptive processes from intensity-based time-lapse observations of the general crater and dome evolution. The satellite images are complemented by close-range airborne photos, processed by the Structure-from-Motion workflow. This allows the derivation of high-resolution digital elevation models, providing insight into detailed loading and unloading features. During the observation period from Jan-2013 to Feb-2016, we identify a dominantly W-directed dome growth and lava flow production until Jan-2015. In Feb-2015, following the removal of the active summit dome, the surface crater widened and elongated along a NE-SW axis. Later in May-2015, a new dome grew toward the SW of the crater while a separate vent developed in the NE of the crater, reflecting a change in the direction of magma ascent and possible conduit bifurcation. Finite element models show a significant stress change in agreement with the observed magma ascent direction changes in response to the changing surface loads, both for loading (dome growth) and unloading (crater forming excavation) cases. These results allow insight into shallow dome growth dynamics and the migration of magma ascent in response to changing volcano summit morphology. They further highlight the importance of detailed volcano summit morphology surveillance, as changes in direction or location of dome extrusion may have major implications regarding the directions of potential volcanic hazards, such as pyroclastic density currents generated by dome collapse. Introduction
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Edgar Zorn, Nicolas Le Corvec, Nick Varley, Jacqueline Salzer, Thomas Walter, et al.. Load Stress Controls on Directional Lava Dome Growth at Volcán de Colima, Mexico. Frontiers in Earth Science, Frontiers Media, 2019, 7, pp.87. ⟨10.3389/feart.2019.00084⟩. ⟨hal-02175184⟩

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