RAPID: Collaborative: Geodetic and Seismic Observations of Volcanic Unrest at Sierra Negra volcano, Galapagos Islands

  • Lafemina, Peter Christopher (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Seismic and geodetic observations of volcanic unrest and of erupting volcanoes not only lead to a better understanding of the fundamental processes of magma storage, magma reservoir failure, magma transport towards the Earth's surface, but also provide opportunities to identify precursory signals that could serve to better forecast eruptions. Sierra Negra volcano in the Galapagos islands, one of the world's largest and most active basaltic shield volcanoes is in a new episode of unrest. This project responds to this unrest by collecting critical observations to understand this and other systems better. The Broader Impacts of this work include better understanding of hazards associated with volcanoes and the earthquakes that happen near them. The project is a collaborative effort between a large geodetic facility, and researchers at the University of Miami and Pennsylvania State University. In addition, the work will be done in collaboration with Instituto Geofisico (IG), Quito, Ecuador.

This RAPID responds to the inflation activity at Sierra Negra. The project will work (1) to upgrade the existing geodetic network, (2) to conduct a photogrammetric survey of the trapdoor fault system using a drone, (3) to conduct time-lapse gravimetric observations inside the caldera (an initial survey was done in February 2018), and (4) to expand the network to better capture inflation activities. Questions that will be addressed include how intrusions initiate, how does the trapdoor faulting work and relate to the magma inflation, and what is the volatile content of the magma. This project provides the geodetic observations complementing the temporary seismic network of collaborators at Edinburgh, IG and Tulane. The combination of multiple geophysical data sets will allow modeling the build-up to and the processes during an eruption in unprecedented detail.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date7/1/186/30/19


  • National Science Foundation: $2,846.00


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