Effects of mechanical layering on volcano deformation

A. Manconi, T. R. Walter, F. Amelung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


The migration and accumulation of magma beneath volcanoes often causes surface displacements that can be measured by geodetic techniques. Usually, deformation signals are explained using models with uniform mechanical properties. In this paper, we study surface displacements due to magma chamber inflation, using heterogeneous finite element models. We first present a systematic analysis of the influence of mechanical layering, showing that the stiffness contrast significantly affects the entity and the pattern of vertical and radial displacements. Second, as an example we apply the models to interpret ground displacements at Darwin volcano (Galápagos Islands) as revealed by InSAR data in the period 1992-1998. The considered models suggest that geodetic data interpreted using homogeneous models leads to underestimation of the source depth and volume change. Thus, we propose correction factors for the source parameters estimated by homogeneous models, in order to consider a range of variation due to mechanical layering as analysed in this study. The effect of the mechanical heterogeneities affects the correct understanding of geodetic data and also influences the evaluation of a volcanic hazard potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)952-958
Number of pages7
JournalGeophysical Journal International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Crustal deformation
  • Finite-element methods
  • Galápagos Islands
  • Layered media
  • Satellite geodesy
  • Volcanic activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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