Subsidence associated with the LUSI mud eruption, East Java, investigated by SAR interferometry

Yo Fukushima, Jim Mori, Manabu Hashimoto, Yasuyuki Kano

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39 Citations (Scopus)


A mud volcano LUSI initiated its eruption on 29 May 2006, adjacent to a hydrocarbon exploration well in East Java. Ground subsidence in the vicinity of the LUSI eruptive vent was well recorded by a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) PALSAR onboard the Japanese ALOS satellite. We apply an Interferometric SAR (InSAR) technique on ten PALSAR data scenes, acquired between 19 May 2006 and 21 May 2007, in order to obtain continuous maps of ground displacements around LUSI. Although the displacements in the area closest to the eruptive vent (spatial extension of about 1.5 km) are not detectable because of the erupted mud, all the processed interferograms indicate subsidence in an ellipsoidal area of approximately 4 km (north-south) × 3 km (east-west), centered at the main eruptive vent. In particular, interferograms spanning the first four months until 4 Oct. 2006 and the subsequent 46 days between 4 Oct. 2006 and 19 Nov. 2006 show at least about 70 cm and 80 cm of displacements away from the satellite, respectively. Possible causes of the subsidence, i.e., 1) loading effect of the erupted mud, 2) creation of a cylindrical mud conduit, and 3) pressure decrease and depletion of materials at depth, are investigated. The effects of the first two causes are found to be insufficient to explain the total amount of subsidence observed in the first six months. The third possibility is quantitatively examined using a boundary element approach by modeling the source of deformation as a deflating oblate spheroid. The spheroid is estimated to lie at depths of a few hundred to a thousand meters. The estimated depths are significantly shallower than determined from analyses of erupted mud samples; the difference is explained by presence of significant amount of inelastic deformation including compaction and downward transfer of material.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1740-1750
Number of pages11
JournalMarine and Petroleum Geology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Nov


  • ALOS
  • Boundary element method
  • East Java
  • LUSI
  • Mud volcano
  • SAR interferometry


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