Flank-fissure eruptions involve lateral injection and propagation of magma in a volcanic edifice along pre-existing fractures in the direction of the rift zones where magma intrusion and lava flow production are concentrated over time. Thus, the identification and mapping of active fractures and faults is a fundamental aspect of studies of active volcanic systems. However, gradual dyke wedge emplacement at depth in well-fractured zones on volcano flanks and in volcanic rift zones does not necessarily trigger large amplitude deformation signals susceptible to be recorded months or even years before the actual eruption. Here we show that active and potentially eruptive areas can be detected up to 2 yrs before the arrival to the surface of the final eruptive dyke and venting of lava flows by processing satellite images applying a normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) algorithm. A posteriori analysis of satellite images indeed reveals that the surficial effects of dyke wedge injection and ascent on plant growth were apparent for Mt. Etna from 2000 to 2002 and for Mt. Nyiragongo in 2001, thus months to years before they erupted. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Earth planet. sci. lett.Univ Calif Berkeley, Seismol Lab, Berkeley, CA 94720 USA; CNRS, Inst Phys Globe Paris, Equipe Volcanol, F-75252 Paris 05, France; CNRS, Inst Phys Globe Paris, Seismol Lab, F-75252 Paris 05, France; OVG, Goma, CongoArticleEnglish