EGU23-5913, updated on 22 Feb 2023
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Pluto: A global volcanic activity early warning system powered by large scale self-supervised deep learning on InSAR data

Nikolaos Ioannis Bountos1,2, Dimitrios Michail2, Themistocles Herekakis1, Angeliki Thanasou, and Ioannis Papoutsis
Nikolaos Ioannis Bountos et al.
  • 1Orion Lab, Institute of Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications & Remote Sensing, National Observatory of Athens, Greece
  • 2Department of Informatics and Telematics, Harokopio University of Athens, Greece

Artificial intelligence (AI) methods have emerged as a powerful tool to study and in some cases forecast natural disasters [1,2]. Recent works have successfully combined deep learning modeling with scientific knowledge stemming from the SAR Interferometry domain propelling research on tasks like volcanic activity monitoring [3], associated with ground deformation. A milestone in this interdisciplinary field has been the release of the Hephaestus [4] InSAR dataset, facilitating automatic InSAR interpretation, volcanic activity localization as well as the detection and categorization of atmospheric contributions in wrapped interferograms. Hephaestus contains annotations for approximately 20,000 InSAR frames, covering the 44 most active volcanoes in the world. The annotation was performed  by a team of InSAR experts that manually examined each InSAR frame individually. However, even with such a large dataset, class imbalance remains a challenge, i.e. the InSAR samples containing volcano deformation fringes are orders of magnitude less than those that do not. This is anticipated since natural hazards are in principle rare in nature. To counter that, the authors of Hephaestus provide more than 100,000 unlabeled InSAR frames to be used for global large-scale self-supervised learning, which is more robust to class imbalance when compared to supervised learning [5]. 

Motivated by the Hephaestus dataset and the insights provided by [2], we train global, task-agnostic models in a self-supervised learning fashion that can handle distribution shifts caused by spatio-temporal variability as well as major class imbalances. By finetuning such a model to the labeled part of Hephaestus we obtain the backbone for a global volcanic activity alerting system, namely Pluto. Pluto is a novel end-to-end AI based system that provides early warnings of volcanic unrest on a global scale.

Pluto automatically synchronizes its database with the Comet-LiCS [6] portal to receive newly generated Sentinel-1 InSAR data acquired over volcanic areas. The new samples are fed to our volcanic activity detection model. If volcanic activity is detected, an automatic email is sent to the service users, which contains information about the intensity, the exact location and the type (Mogi, Sill, Dyk) of the event. To ensure a robust and ever-improving service we augment Pluto with an iterative pipeline that collects samples that were misclassified in production, and uses them to further improve the existing model. 


[1] Kondylatos et al. "Wildfire danger prediction and understanding with Deep Learning." Geophysical Research Letters 49.17 (2022): e2022GL099368.

[2] Bountos et al. "Self-supervised contrastive learning for volcanic unrest detection." IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters 19 (2021): 1-5.

[3] Bountos et al. "Learning from Synthetic InSAR with Vision Transformers: The case of volcanic unrest detection." IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing (2022).

[4] Bountos et al. "Hephaestus: A large scale multitask dataset towards InSAR understanding." Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF CVPR. 2022.

[5] Liu et al. "Self-supervised learning is more robust to dataset imbalance." arXiv preprint arXiv:2110.05025 (2021).

[6] Lazecký et al. "LiCSAR: An automatic InSAR tool for measuring and monitoring tectonic and volcanic activity." Remote Sensing 12.15 (2020): 2430.

How to cite: Bountos, N. I., Michail, D., Herekakis, T., Thanasou, A., and Papoutsis, I.: Pluto: A global volcanic activity early warning system powered by large scale self-supervised deep learning on InSAR data, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-5913,, 2023.