EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Volcano processes at the remote South Sandwich Islands of Zavodovski and Saunders observed from air and space

Nicole Richter1, Francesco Massimetti2, Tom Hart3, Oliver Cartus4, Silvan Leinss4, Allan Derrien5, Edgar Zorn6, Alina Shevchenko7, Paul Wintersteller8, Martin Meschede9, and Thomas Walter7
Nicole Richter et al.
  • 1RWTH Aachen University, Germany
  • 2University of Turin, Italy
  • 3Oxford Brookes University, UK
  • 4GAMMA RS, Switzerland
  • 5Etudis, La Réunion, France
  • 6Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Germany
  • 7GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Germany
  • 8MARUM, Germany
  • 9University of Greifswald, Germany

Under polar and subpolar climatic conditions, volcano edifice growth and stability are affected by extreme erosion rates, mass wasting, glacier loading (and unloading), and permafrost soil conditions. Relatively small changes in temperature can lead to very different snow and ice conditions in relation to all of the above. Therefore active, shallow magmatic plumbing systems and magmatic pathways might react sensitively to even minor changes of their surrounding environmental conditions. Almost constant degassing from the summit crater of Mount Curry (Zavodovski Island) and the presence of an active lava lake within the summit crater of Mount Michael (Saunders Island) suggest the existence of shallow magmatic plumbing systems at both volcanoes. They therefore represent exceptional study sites for investigating volcano processes under subpolar climatic conditions. Because of their remoteness, none of these islands are equipped with permanently installed ground-based instruments. We observe and quantify surface displacements related to volcanic activity, fumarolic activity, tectonic activity in the Scotia arc, as well as glacier flow from high-resolution combined TerraSAR-X and PAZ interferometry and amplitude offsets. Multi-temporal topographic data are available through the TanDEM-X SAR satellite mission and photogrammetric surveys conducted in April-Mai 2019 at Saunders Island and in January-February 2023 on Zavodovski Island. Here we introduce the first results of combining and exploring UAV photogrammetry with SAR satellite data. We present a geomorphological and structural analysis of Zavodovski Island and the outer subaerial and shallower submarine flanks of Saunders Island. We also estimate the glacier volume and volume change over time on Saunders as well as surface dynamics at Zavodovski. With this study we highlight the unprecedented detail and the valuable information that can be retrieved from tasked and targeted TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X, and PAZ satellite acquisitions coupled

How to cite: Richter, N., Massimetti, F., Hart, T., Cartus, O., Leinss, S., Derrien, A., Zorn, E., Shevchenko, A., Wintersteller, P., Meschede, M., and Walter, T.: Volcano processes at the remote South Sandwich Islands of Zavodovski and Saunders observed from air and space, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-17100,, 2023.