Characterization of pyroclastic fall and flow deposits from the 1815 eruption of Tambora volcano, Indonesia using ground-penetrating radar

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Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is used to image and characterize fall and pyroclastic flow deposits from the 1815 eruption of Tambora volcano in Indonesia. Analysis of GPR common-mid-point (CMP) data indicate that the velocity of radar in the sub-surface is 0.1 m/ns, and this is used to establish a preliminary traveltime to-depth conversion for common-offset reflection profiles. Common-offset radar profiles were collected along the edge of an erosional gully that exposed approximately 1-2 m of volcanic stratigraphy. Additional trenching at select locations in the gully exposed the contact between the pre-1815 eruption surface and overlying pyroclastic deposit from the 1815 eruption. The deepest continuous, prominent reflection is shown to correspond to the interface between pre-eruption clay-rich soil and pyroclastics that reach a maximum thickness of 4 m along our profiles. This soil surface is distinctly terraced and is interpreted as the ground surface augmented for agriculture and buildings by people from the kingdom of Tambora. The correlation of volcanic stratigraphy and radar data at this location indicates that reflections are produced by the soil-pyroclastic deposit interface and the interface between pyroclastic flows (including pyroclastic surge) and the pumice-rich fall deposits. In the thickest deposits an additional reflection marks the interface between two pyroclastic flow units. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research