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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 16, issue 8 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 1755-1769, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-16-1755-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 03 Aug 2016

Research article | 03 Aug 2016

The unrest of the San Miguel volcano (El Salvador, Central America): installation of the monitoring network and observed volcano-tectonic ground deformation

Alessandro Bonforte1, Douglas Antonio Hernandez2, Eduardo Gutiérrez2, Louis Handal2, Cecilia Polío2, Salvatore Rapisarda1, and Piergiorgio Scarlato3 Alessandro Bonforte et al.
  • 1Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Catania – Osservatorio Etneo, Piazza Roma 2, 95125 Catania, Italy
  • 2Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, Kilómetro 5 1/2 Carretera a Santa Tecla, Calle y Colonia Las Mercedes, San Salvador, EL Salvador
  • 3Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Sismologia e Tettonofisica, Via di Vigna Murata 605, 00143 Roma, Italy

Abstract. On 29 December 2013, the Chaparrastique volcano in El Salvador, close to the town of San Miguel, erupted suddenly with explosive force, forming a column more than 9km high and projecting ballistic projectiles as far as 3km away. Pyroclastic density currents flowed to the north-northwest side of the volcano, while tephras were dispersed northwest and north-northeast. This sudden eruption prompted the local Ministry of Environment to request cooperation with Italian scientists in order to improve the monitoring of the volcano during this unrest. A joint force, made up of an Italian team from the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia and a local team from the Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, was organized to enhance the volcanological, geophysical and geochemical monitoring system to study the evolution of the phenomenon during the crisis. The joint team quickly installed a multiparametric mobile network comprising seismic, geodetic and geochemical sensors (designed to cover all the volcano flanks from the lowest to the highest possible altitudes) and a thermal camera. To simplify the logistics for a rapid installation and for security reasons, some sensors were colocated into multiparametric stations. Here, we describe the prompt design and installation of the geodetic monitoring network, the processing and results. The installation of a new ground deformation network can be considered an important result by itself, while the detection of some crucial deforming areas is very significant information, useful for dealing with future threats and for further studies on this poorly monitored volcano.

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In this paper, we present the work done during an international cooperation between Italy and El Salvador, for implementing the multiparametric monitoring of the San Miguel volcano in El Salvador after its sudden unrest. In particular, the aim of this paper is to show and describe the installed geodetic network and to show, comment and interpret the very first detailed ground deformation data obtained on this volcano during an unrest period, useful for characterizing its unknown dynamics.
In this paper, we present the work done during an international cooperation between Italy and El...
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