Computer aided detection of transient inflation events at Alaskan volcanoes using GPS measurements from 2005–2015

Justin D. Li, Cody M. Rude, David M. Blair, Michael G. Gowanlock, Thomas A. Herring, Victor Pankratius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Analysis of transient deformation events in time series data observed via networks of continuous Global Positioning System (GPS) ground stations provide insight into the magmatic and tectonic processes that drive volcanic activity. Typical analyses of spatial positions originating from each station require careful tuning of algorithmic parameters and selection of time and spatial regions of interest to observe possible transient events. This iterative, manual process is tedious when attempting to make new discoveries and does not easily scale with the number of stations. Addressing this challenge, we introduce a novel approach based on a computer-aided discovery system that facilitates the discovery of such potential transient events. The advantages of this approach are demonstrated by actual detections of transient deformation events at volcanoes selected from the Alaska Volcano Observatory database using data recorded by GPS stations from the Plate Boundary Observatory network. Our technique successfully reproduces the analysis of a transient signal detected in the first half of 2008 at Akutan volcano and is also directly applicable to 3 additional volcanoes in Alaska, with the new detection of 2 previously unnoticed inflation events: in early 2011 at Westdahl and in early 2013 at Shishaldin. This study also discusses the benefits of our computer-aided discovery approach for volcanology in general. Advantages include the rapid analysis on multi-scale resolutions of transient deformation events at a large number of sites of interest and the capability to enhance reusability and reproducibility in volcano studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)634-642
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
StatePublished - Nov 15 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Alaska
  • Computer-aided discovery
  • GPS
  • Transient inflation events
  • Volcanoes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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