The unrest of the San Miguel volcano (El Salvador, Central America): installation of the monitoring network and observed volcano-tectonic ground deformation
Abstract. On 29 December 2013, the Chaparrastique volcano in El Salvador, close to the town of San Miguel, erupted suddenly with explosive force, forming a column more than 9 km high and projecting ballistic projectiles as far as 3 km away. Pyroclastic density currents flowed to the north-northwest side of the volcano, while tephras were dispersed northwest and north-northeast. This sudden eruption prompted the local Ministry of Environment to request cooperation with Italian scientists in order to improve the monitoring of the volcano during this unrest. A joint force, made up of an Italian team from the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia and a local team from the Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, was organized to enhance the volcanological, geophysical and geochemical monitoring system to study the evolution of the phenomenon during the crisis. The joint team quickly installed a multiparametric mobile network comprising seismic, geodetic and geochemical sensors (designed to cover all the volcano flanks from the lowest to the highest possible altitudes) and a thermal camera. To simplify the logistics for a rapid installation and for security reasons, some sensors were colocated into multiparametric stations. Here, we describe the prompt design and installation of the geodetic monitoring network, the processing and results. The installation of a new ground deformation network can be considered an important result by itself, while the detection of some crucial deforming areas is very significant information, useful for dealing with future threats and for further studies on this poorly monitored volcano.