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

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Original languageEnglish
DatePublished - 1 Dec 2017


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.

    Research areas

  • 9805 Instruments useful in three or more fields, GENERAL OR MISCELLANEOUS, 9820 Techniques applicable in three or more fields, 4333 Disaster risk analysis and assessment, NATURAL HAZARDS, 4339 Disaster mitigation

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