Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala is a continuously active, basaltic volcano with an unstable western flank. Despite continuous activity since 1961, a lack of high temporal resolution geodetic surveying has prevented detailed modeling of Pacaya's underlying magmatic plumbing system. A new, temporally dense dataset of Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) RADARSAT-2 images, spanning December 2012 to March 2014, show magmatic deformation before and during major eruptions in January and March 2014. Inversion of InSAR surface displacements using simple analytical forward models suggest that three magma bodies are responsible for the observed deformation: (1) a ~ 4 km deep spherical reservoir located northwest of the summit, (2) a ~ 0.4 km deep spherical source located directly west of the summit, and (3) a shallow dike below the summit. Periods of heightened volcanic activity are instigated by magma pulses at depth, resulting in rapid inflation of the edifice. We observe an intrusion cycle at Pacaya that consists of deflation of one or both magma reservoirs followed by dike intrusion. Intrusion volumes are proportional to reservoir volume loss and do not always result in an eruption. Periods of increased activity culminate with larger dike-fed eruptions. Large eruptions are followed by inter-eruptive periods marked by a decrease in crater explosions and a lack of detected deformation. Co-eruptive flank motion appears to have initiated a new stage of volcanic rifting at Pacaya defined by repeated NW-SE oriented dike intrusions. This creates a positive feedback relationship whereby magmatic forcing from eruptive dike intrusions induce flank motion.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geochemistry and Petrology