InSAR is particularly useful for studying volcanoes in countries that tend to be ignored by the usual parade of visiting Western
scientists. Although peaks such as Vesuvius, Mt. Rainier in Washington State and Japan´s Mt. Fuji garner a lot of attention, there are dozens of other volcanoes just as deadly in Central and South America and Indonesia. The Gede volcano is only 40 miles from downtown Jakarta and its population of nine million. The hill country around Gede has become a favorite weekend getaway for locals-there´s even an 18-hole golf course on the volcano. Popocatepetl, at 17,930 feet, soars over Mexico City, a mere 37 miles away. The â€Smoking Mountainâ€ is known to have erupted 36 times and sputters steam and gas from its summit almost monthly. Atitln Caldera is about 75 miles from Guatemala City. Take a stroll in the city, says Stanley Williams, a professor of geology and volcanology at Arizona State University, â€and you realize that all the rocks you are standing on came from Atitln. If that eruption happened today, it would probably kill 90 percent of the population of the country.â€ For any of these volcanoes, predicting an eruption using InSAR depends on groundcover-rocky or barren surfaces tend to produce better images than snow- or tree-covered terrain. Residents of Naples will be glad to know that Vesuvius is perfectly photogenic.