InSAR Postdoc

My postdoctoral research was funded by the STREVA and COMET projects. STREVA is an inter-disciplinary project working to increase the resilience of local communities to volcanic activity. COMET is an integrated Earth observation working group aiming to significantly improve the understanding of tectonic and volcanic processes and the hazards they present. My work also came under the CEOS volcanic pilot program which focuses on Latin America to highlight the applicability of earth observation (satellite) data in monitoring volcanic regions.


Operational Responsibilities

The operational and National Capability responsibilities of this role extended to processing InSAR data and monitoring any ongoing or new volcanic deformation episodes. This predominantly applied to Latin American countries but could extend worldwide. Results were communicated to local volcano observatories and the British government (through the British Geological Survey) in a timely manner. The majority of the data feeding these efforts was acquired by the European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-1 satellite, which captures images of the majority of the world’s volcanoes with 12 day repeat intervals.


InSAR and Volcano Deformation Research

A particular focus of my InSAR research was Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador. This volcano has a history of localised inflation on its west flank, as well as destructive sector collapses. I am working on a project that links these two phenomena to establish any potential relationships and a hazard assessment. Stay tuned for results…

An example of deformation observed by InSAR in 2008 on the west flank of Tungurahua. Image: Biggs et al., 2010, Geophysical Research Letters.

An example of deformation observed by InSAR in 2008 on the west flank of Tungurahua. Image: Biggs et al., 2010, Geophysical Research Letters.


Volcano Deformation Database

The final component of this research was the development of a global volcano deformation database, hosted online. The site is still in progress but we are over two-thirds of the way to including an entry for every volcano in the Global Volcanism Project Holocene volcano list. The end goal is to have a two-stage entry for every volcano. The first will outline any archived data about previous deformation studies and interpretations. The second will use ESA Sentinel-1 data to provide near-real-time interferograms that show any potential deformation. To assist with this the COMET project is working towards establishing an automated processing facility.

Volcano Deformation Database