Ground deformation before the 2015 eruptions of Cotopaxi volcano detected by InSAR

Anieri M. Morales Rivera, Falk Amelung, Patricia Mothes, Sang Hoon Hong, Jean Mathieu Nocquet, Paul Jarrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Cotopaxi volcano started a period of volcanic unrest in April 2015 that led to a series of eruptions between August and November 2015. We use COSMO-SkyMed Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar supported by continuous GPS observations spanning the period of 2014–2016 to obtain time-dependent ground deformation data over Cotopaxi volcano related to the period of unrest and onset of eruptions. We find evidence of precursory deformation, with a maximum uplift on the western flank of 3.4 cm from April to August 2015. Deformation is explained by an inclined sheet intrusion located a few km southwest of the summit with an opening volume of 6.8 × 106 m3, extending from a depth of 12.1 km and shallowing to 5.5 km below the summit, that contributed to internal edifice growth. The temporal coincidence of deformation prior to the eruptions potentially suggests that short-term eruptions at Cotopaxi are partly controlled by episodic edifice growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6607-6615
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 16 2017


  • Cotopaxi
  • InSAR
  • volcano deformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Ground deformation before the 2015 eruptions of Cotopaxi volcano detected by InSAR'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this