Magma extrusion during the Ubinas 2013-2014 eruptive crisis based on satellite thermal imaging (MIROVA) and ground-based monitoring
After 3 years of mild gases emissions, the Ubinas volcano entered in a new eruptive phase on September 2nd, 2013. The MIROVA system (a space-based volcanic hot-spot detection system), allowed us to detect in near real time the thermal emissions associated with the eruption and provided early evidence of magma extrusion within the deep summit crater. By combining IR data with plume height, sulfur emissions, hot spring temperatures and seismic activity, we interpret the thermal output detected over Ubinas in terms of extrusion rates associated to the eruption. We suggest that the 2013-2014 eruptive crisis can be subdivided into three main phases: (i) shallow magma intrusion inside the edifice, (ii) extrusion and growing of a lava plug at the bottom of the summit crater coupled with increasing explosive activity and finally, (iii) disruption of the lava plug and gradual decline of the explosive activity. The occurrence of the 8.2 Mw Iquique (Chile) earthquake (365 km away from Ubinas) on April 1st, 2014, may have perturbed most of the analyzed parameters, suggesting a prompt interaction with the ongoing volcanic activity. In particular, the analysis of thermal and seismic datasets shows that the earthquake may have promoted the most intense thermal and explosive phase that culminated in a major explosion on April 19th, 2014.These results reveal the efficiency of space-based thermal observations in detecting the extrusion of hot magma within deep volcanic craters and in tracking its evolution. We emphasize that, in combination with other geophysical and geochemical datasets, MIROVA is an essential tool for monitoring remote volcanoes with rather difficult accessibility, like those of the Andes that reach remarkably high altitudes.