GRSG Conference 2020 Presentation

Title: Radar backscatter analysis of the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō Crater, Kīlauea during the 2011 – 2013 eruptions

Author: Edna W. Dualeh

Radar backscatter has significant advantages for near real-time monitoring and understanding ongoing volcanic eruptions, as it does not depend on cloud-free days or solar radiation and can aid in monitoring of remote volcanoes.

However, radar backscatter is still currently not widely used for volcano monitoring, in part due to the ambiguity in the data interpretation. We examined the validity of SAR backscatter in examining the effusive activity at Kīlauea, Hawai’i during the 2010 – 13 eruptive period.

At Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, we tested the geometrical and morphological limitations of using radar shadows to extract accurate height measurements from features and determine controlling factors.

During 2011, we were able to observe the two major crater collapses associated with the onset of new eruptions and correlate these to the extensive ground-based data.

In addition, we used the radar backscatter to observe the dynamic nature within Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater and determine the range of backscatter signal produced and how these compared to ground observations at the time.

From the radar backscatter we were able to identify periods with an active lava lake and characterise the different types of lakes present.