Volcano research and monitoring

NEODAAS data and services are being used for monitoring volcanoes, for both short-term observation of eruption events, and for long-term trend analysis based on the unique NEODAAS >30 year time series of direct-broadcast data.

Mount Etna is the largest active volcano in Europe and since July 2001 NEODAAS have provided data to Earth scientists to research into volcano activity and to track eruptive activity. Figure 1 was captured during the eruption in July 2001 from the NOAA AVHRR sensor. During this event NEODAAS data were used to help track the eruption and provided a valuable data source for assessing the progress of a long lava flow that threatened to invade the town of Nicolosi. Figure 2 shows MODIS data for a subsequent eruption on 28 October 2002. The latest AVHRR brightness temperature data for Mount Etna can be seen in Figure 3; these data are automatically transmitted via ftp to Earth scientists involved in the research described below. Registered users can also view the data in the product browser.

Mt. Etna eruption Mt. Etna eruption Mt. Etna eruption

Figure 1: AVHRR temperature data on
22 July 2001 15:48 UTC.

Figure 2: MODIS top-of-atmosphere scene on
28 October 2002 12:15 UTC.

Figure 3: Temperature data showing the eruption of Mount Etna.

Satellite-data-derived TADR time series for 1983 effusive eruption at Etna

Figure 4: Satellite-data-derived TADR time series for 1983 effusive eruption at Etna.

Two papers have demonstrated NEODAAS support of volcano research. Harris et al., 2011 used 30 years of AVHRR data from the Dundee archive, spanning 1980-2010, to compute satellite-derived time-averaged lava-discharge rates (TADR) for Mount Etna volcano, Sicily, Italy, comprising 1792 measurements during 23 eruptions. The AVHRR time series was calibrated and provided as thermal IR brightness temperature data by NEODAAS Plymouth.

The method for TADR is based on Harris et al., (1997) that resulted from a NEODAAS supported PhD. The time series was used to classify eruptions on the basis of magnitude and intensity, as well as the shape of the TADR time series which characterizes each effusive event: see Figure 4 for an example from 1983. It was found that while 1983–1993 was characterized by less frequent but longer‐duration effusive eruptions at lower TADRs, 2000-2010 was characterized by more frequent eruptions of shorter duration and higher TADRs. However, roughly the same lava volume was erupted during both of these 11 year long periods, so that the volumetric output was linear over the entire 30 year period, increasing at a rate of 0.8 m3 s-1 between 1980 and 2010.

The cumulative volume record was extended back in time using data available in the literature to assess Etna's output history over five centuries and to place the current trend in historical context. This revealed that output has been stable at this rate since 1971. At this time, the output rate changed from a low discharge rate phase, which had characterized the period 1759 to 1970, to a high discharge rate phase. This new phase had the same output rate as the high discharge rate phase that characterized the period 1610–1669 that ended with the most voluminous eruption of historic times.

Infrared satellite data (including NEODAAS AVHRR data, Landsat TM and ESA ATSR data) was used by Wright et al., to drive a thermo-rheological/stochastic model to predict the final the dimensions of active lava flows).

Figure 5 shows the model run using time–varying effusion rates based on satellite–derived effusion rates determined during the first 19 days of the eruption compared to a published map of flow dimensions. This demonstrates how the model could be applied in near-real time.

The authors contended that the thermo–rheological component of the model predicted the observed rate of lengthening of the 1991–1993 flow–field satisfactorily while the stochastic element faithfully reproduced the degree of flow widening. However, the approach failed to capture the larger scale complexities of the flow–field outline.

Model simulations using lava effusion rates determined from infrared satellite data acquired during the first 19 days of the eruption, with published map of flow dimensions
Figure 5: Model simulations using lava effusion rates determined from infrared satellite data acquired during the first 19 days of the eruption, with published map of flow dimensions.

Cited references

Harris, A., Steffke, A., Calvari, S. & Spampinato, L. (2011) Thirty years of satellite-derived lava discharge rates at Etna: Implications for steady volumetric output. Journal of Geophysical Research - Solid Earth, 116(B08204). doi: 10.1029/2011JB008237

Wright, R., Garbeil, H. & Harris, A.J.L. (2008) Using infrared satellite data to drive a thermo-rheological/stochastic lava flow emplacement model: A method for near-real-time volcanic hazard assessment. Geophysical Research Letters, 35(L19307). doi: 10.1029/2008GL035228

Harris A.J.L., S. Blake, & D.A. Rothery (1997) A chronology of the 1991 to 1993 Mount Etna eruption using advanced very high resolution radiometer data: Implications for real-time thermal volcano monitoring. J. Geophys. Res., 102, 7985-8003.

Other relevant NEODAAS supported references

Aries, S.E., Harris, A.J.L. & Rothery, D.A. (2001) Remote infrared detection of the cessation of volcanic eruptions. Geophysical Research Letters, 28 (9), 1803-1806.

Bailey, J.E., Harris, A.J.L., Dehn, J., Calvari, S. & Rowland, S. (2006) The changing morphology of an open lava channel on Mt. Etna. Bulletin of Volcanology, 68(6), 497-515.

Barsotti, S. & Neri, A. (2008) The VOL-CALPUFF model for atmospheric ash dispersal: 2. Application to the weak Mount Etna plume of July 2001. Journal of Geophysica Research 113. doi: 10.1029/2006JB004624

Calvari, S., L. Spampinato, L. Lodato, A.J.L. Harris, M.R. Patrick, J. Dehn, M.R. Burton, & Andronico, D. (2005) Chronology and complex volcanic processes during the 2002-2003 flank eruption at Stromboli volcano (Italy) reconstructed from direct observations and surveys with a handheld thermal camera, Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth, 110 (B2), B02201, 2005.

Gouhier, M., Harris, A., Calvari, S., Labazuy, P., Guehenneux, Y., Donnadieu, F. & Valade, S. (2012) Lava discharge during Etna's January 2011 fire fountain tracked using MSG-SEVIRI. Bulletin of Volcanology, 74(4), 787-793. doi: 10.1007/s00445-011-0572-y

Harris, A.J.L., & Neri, M. (2002) Volumetric observations during paroxysmal eruptions at Mount Etna: pressurized drainage of a shallow chamber or pulsed supply?, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 116 (1-2), 79-95.

Harris, A.J.L., Murray, J.B., Aries, S.E., Davies, M.A., Flynn, L.P., Wooster, M.J., Wright, R. & Rothery, D.A. (2000) Effusion rate trends at Etna and Krafla and their implications for eruptive mechanisms, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 102 (3-4), 237-270.

Harris, A.J.L., Butterworth, A.L., Carlton, R.W., Downey, I., Miller, P., Navarro, P., & Rothery, D.A. (1997) Low cost volcano surveillance from space: case studies from Etna, Drafla, Cerro Negro, Fogo, Lascar and Erebus. Bulletin of Volcanology, 59, 49-64,.

Harris, A.J.L., & Stevenson, D.S. (1997) Thermal observation of degassing open conduits and fumaroles at Stromboli and Vulcano using remote sensing. data, J. Volc. Geotherm. Research, 76, 175-198.

Lautze, N.C., Harris, A.J.L., Bailey, J.E., Ripepe, M., Calvari, S., Dehn, J., Rowland, S.K. & Evans-Jones, K. (2004) Pulsed lava effusion at Mount Etna during 2001, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 137 (1-3), 231-246, 2004.