On the use of UAVs at active volcanoes: a case study from Volcan de Fuego, Guatemala

M. Watson, G. Chigna, K. Wood, T. Richardson, E. Liu, B. Schellenberg, H. Thomas, A. Naismith

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Abstractpeer-review


Volcan de Fuego, Guatemala, is one of Central America's most active systems. More than one hundred thousand people live within ten kilometres of the summit, many of them in profound poverty. Both the summit region and the volcano's steep sided valleys present significant access challenges, mostly associated with unacceptably high risk. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) offer the opportunity to observe, map and quantify emissions of tephra, gas, lava and heat flux and, using structure from motion algorithms, model dynamic topography. During recent campaigns, the team have completed observations of changes in the summit morphology immediately prior a paroxysmal eruption, mapped the key drainage systems after the fifth of May 2017 eruption and sampled the plume for tephra and gases using a range of onboard instruments. I will present the group's findings within a broader context of hazard mitigation and physical volcanology, and discuss the future of UAVs in volcano monitoring and research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • 9805 Instruments useful in three or more fields
  • 9820 Techniques applicable in three or more fields
  • 4333 Disaster risk analysis and assessment
  • 4339 Disaster mitigation


Dive into the research topics of 'On the use of UAVs at active volcanoes: a case study from Volcan de Fuego, Guatemala'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this