Sequential assimilation of volcanic monitoring data to quantify eruption potential: Application to Kerinci Volcano, Sumatra

Yan Zhan, Patricia M. Gregg, Estelle Chaussard, Yosuke Aoki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quantifying the eruption potential of a restless volcano requires the ability to model parameters such as overpressure and calculate the host rock stress state as the system evolves. A critical challenge is developing a model-data fusion framework to take advantage of observational data and provide updates of the volcanic system through time. The Ensemble Kalman Filter (EnKF) uses a Monte Carlo approach to assimilate volcanic monitoring data and update models of volcanic unrest, providing time-varying estimates of overpressure and stress. Although the EnKF has been proven effective to forecast volcanic deformation using synthetic InSAR and GPS data, until now, it has not been applied to assimilate data from an active volcanic system. In this investigation, the EnKF is used to provide a “hindcast” of the 2009 explosive eruption of Kerinci volcano, Indonesia. A two-sources analytical model is used to simulate the surface deformation of Kerinci volcano observed by InSAR time-series data and to predict the system evolution. A deep, deflating dike-like source reproduces the subsiding signal on the flanks of the volcano, and a shallow spherical McTigue source reproduces the central uplift. EnKF predicted parameters are used in finite element models to calculate the host-rock stress state prior to the 2009 eruption. Mohr-Coulomb failure models reveal that the host rock around the shallow magma reservoir is trending toward tensile failure prior to 2009, which may be the catalyst for the 2009 eruption. Our results illustrate that the EnKF shows significant promise for future applications to forecasting the eruption potential of restless volcanoes and hind-cast the triggering mechanisms of observed eruptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108
JournalFrontiers in Earth Science
StatePublished - Dec 19 2017


  • Ensemble kalman filter
  • Eruption
  • InSAR
  • Kerinci volcano
  • Magma storage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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