Spatial and temporal patterns of deformation at the Tendaho geothermal prospect, Ethiopia

Tesfaye Tessema, Juliet Biggs, Elias Lewi, Ian Hamling , Tim Wright, Atalay Ayele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Observations of ground deformation in East Africa have been fundamental for unveiling the tectonics of continental rifting, assessing the seismic and volcanic hazard to development, and identifying geothermal resources. Here we investigate the active natural and anthropogenic processes in the Tendaho Graben, Afar using Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) collected by the Envisat satellite in 2004–2010. We used the Poly-Interferometric Rate And time series Estimation (π-RATE) method to calculate displacement in satellite line-of-sight, and a least-square inversion to decompose the line-of-sight displacement into vertical and rift perpendicular components. We observe two zones of deformation: a 20 km wide circular region of subsidence located 10 km northeast of the town of Semera with a maximum displacement rate of ∼5 cm/yr; and elongated zone (50 km) of subsidence in the area of the geothermal prospect, maximum rate of ∼4 cm/yr. The temporal characteristics of subsidence varies between these zones, with an increase in subsidence rate observed in the circular region in August 2008. We used a Bayesian inversion to find the best fitting source models and compared this to locations of seismicity and other geophysical observations. The pattern of deformation is consistent with a combination of magmatic and geothermal processes, but there does not appear to be a direct link to a sequence of dyke intrusions during 2005–2010 at Manda Hararo graben ∼60 km away, but dynamic stress changes or deep crustal flow could account for the observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-67
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Early online date12 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2018


  • Afar
  • Geothermal
  • InSAR
  • Magmatic
  • Subsidence


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