Articles | Volume 18, issue 6
Research article
20 Mar 2018
Research article |  | 20 Mar 2018

Karymsky volcano eruptive plume properties based on MISR multi-angle imagery and the volcanological implications

Verity J. B. Flower and Ralph A. Kahn

Abstract. Space-based operational instruments are in unique positions to monitor volcanic activity globally, especially in remote locations or where suborbital observing conditions are hazardous. The Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) provides hyper-stereo imagery, from which the altitude and microphysical properties of suspended atmospheric aerosols can be derived. These capabilities are applied to plumes emitted at Karymsky volcano from 2000 to 2017. Observed plumes from Karymsky were emitted predominantly to an altitude of 2–4 km, with occasional events exceeding 6 km. MISR plume observations were most common when volcanic surface manifestations, such as lava flows, were identified by satellite-based thermal anomaly detection. The analyzed plumes predominantly contained large (1.28 µm effective radius), strongly absorbing particles indicative of ash-rich eruptions. Differences between the retrievals for Karymsky volcano's ash-rich plumes and the sulfur-rich plumes emitted during the 2014–2015 eruption of Holuhraun (Iceland) highlight the ability of MISR to distinguish particle types from such events. Observed plumes ranged from 30 to 220 km in length and were imaged at a spatial resolution of 1.1 km. Retrieved particle properties display evidence of downwind particle fallout, particle aggregation and chemical evolution. In addition, changes in plume properties retrieved from the remote-sensing observations over time are interpreted in terms of shifts in eruption dynamics within the volcano itself, corroborated to the extent possible with suborbital data. Plumes emitted at Karymsky prior to 2010 display mixed emissions of ash and sulfate particles. After 2010, all plumes contain consistent particle components, indicative of entering an ash-dominated regime. Post-2010 event timing, relative to eruption phase, was found to influence the optical properties of observed plume particles, with light absorption varying in a consistent sequence as each respective eruption phase progressed.

Short summary
Karymsky volcano was used as a test case for identifying the underlying geology of a volcano, solely from satellite-based observations. Fifteen volcanic plumes were observed, ranging in length from 30 to 220 km and primarily dispersing at an altitude of 2–4 km. This technique distinguishes plume components and particle evolution using MISR and combines these with lava flow details from MODIS. The results have relevance in global volcanic assessment, particularly in remote regions.
Final-revised paper