Classifying Major Explosions and Paroxysms at Stromboli Volcano (Italy) from Space
Stromboli volcano has a persistent activity that is almost exclusively explosive. Predominated by low intensity events, this activity is occasionally interspersed with more powerful episodes, known as major explosions and paroxysms, which represent the main hazards for the inhabitants of the island. Here, we propose a machine learning approach to distinguish between paroxysms and major explosions by using satellite-derived measurements. We investigated the high energy explosive events occurring
... in the period January 2018–April 2021. Three distinguishing features are taken into account, namely (i) the temporal variations of surface temperature over the summit area, (ii) the magnitude of the explosive volcanic deposits emplaced during each explosion, and (iii) the height of the volcanic ash plume produced by the explosive events. We use optical satellite imagery to compute the land surface temperature (LST) and the ash plume height (PH). The magnitude of the explosive volcanic deposits (EVD) is estimated by using multi-temporal Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) intensity images. Once the input feature vectors were identified, we designed a k-means unsupervised classifier to group the explosive events at Stromboli volcano based on their similarities in two clusters: (1) paroxysms and (2) major explosions. The major explosions are identified by low/medium thermal content, i.e., LSTI around 1.4 °C, low plume height, i.e., PH around 420 m, and low production of explosive deposits, i.e., EVD around 2.5. The paroxysms are extreme events mainly characterized by medium/high thermal content, i.e., LSTI around 2.3 °C, medium/high plume height, i.e., PH around 3330 m, and high production of explosive deposits, i.e., EVD around 10.17. The centroids with coordinates (PH, EVD, LSTI) are: Cp (3330, 10.7, 2.3) for the paroxysms, and Cme (420, 2.5, 1.4) for the major explosions.