Using recent advancements in high-performance computing data assimilation to combine satellite InSAR data with numerical models, the prolonged unrest of the Sierra Negra volcano in the Galápagos was tracked to provide a fortuitous, but successful, forecast 5 months in advance of the 26 June 2018 eruption. Subsequent numerical simulations reveal that the evolution of the stress state in the host rock surrounding the Sierra Negra magma system likely controlled eruption timing. While changes in magma reservoir pressure remained modest (<15 MPa), modeled widespread Mohr-Coulomb failure is coincident with the timing of the 26 June 2018 moment magnitude 5.4 earthquake and subsequent eruption. Coulomb stress transfer models suggest that the faulting event triggered the 2018 eruption by encouraging tensile failure along the northern portion of the caldera. These findings provide a critical framework for understanding Sierra Negra’s eruption cycles and evaluating the potential and timing of future eruptions.
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