Gas Instrumentation Sandpit Workshop

2013-09-02 - 08:00 - 2013-09-05
Etna Volcano, Sicily

Gas Instrumentation Sandpit Workshop 2013: Developing The Next Generation Sensors For Monitoring Volcanic Carbon Flux.

The DCO is sponsoring a Sandpit Workshop at Etna volcano in Sicily on September 2-5, 2013. The primary aim of the workshop, “Developing The Next Generation Sensors For Monitoring Volcanic Carbon Flux”, is to fund the fabrication of novel instrumentation: At the end of the workshop, $100,000 will be distributed, at the direction of the attendees, to make such instrumentation a marketable reality. 

The ultimate goal of the Gas Instrument Sandpit is to identify the best new technologies for monitoring volcanic carbon fluxes using either direct or indirect (proxy emissions) measurements, over a variety of timescales (seconds to years). The ability to distinguish between deep (i.e. mantle-derived) and shallow carbon signatures is also beneficial, and will add a level of nuanced understanding to the measurement of total, global, carbon flux.

As a sandpit workshop, attendance is limited to 20-30 people with unique and specific qualifications. This allows for focused discussion and brainstorming over the course of the meeting, culminating in funding of projects that are both practical and immensely useful to the field. The application period has now closed. Priority will be given to instruments for which a working prototype is available, and final funding decisions will be based upon levels of support needed for development, fabrication, and projected market unit cost. 

The sandpit will run from 11am on Monday 2nd September until noon on Thursday 5th, at which point it is expected the winning project will be announce. On Tuesday, there will be public lectures (details to be announced), whereas other sessions will be closed. 

“Mt Etna is a major source of volcanic CO2, both from the central vent, and the surrounding porous flanks of the volcano (but you need to read the Burton et al review to put that into context) – very few of the >600 active volcanoes on Earth are actually monitored, and not even a handful are monitored continuously.  The DCO has a major decadal goal to study gas emissions from volcanoes worldwide in order to radically improve our knowledge of the deep carbon cycle, and its contribution to the air we breathe.  Part of the DCO strategy is to encourage the development and proliferation of instrumentation, which will outlast the DCO as a legacy to improve our understanding of carbon degassing on planet Earth.  This falls into the category of “what we know we don’t know” - it’s there alright, we just haven’t been doing a very good job of measuring it.  Linking ground, air and satellite observations to provide continuous data (of greenhouse gases) is a necessary, viable and desirable development for the future, especially given deepening societal concerns over the carbon cycle and global warming” Adrian Jones UCL June 2013


If you are interested in learning more about this DCO-sponsored event please contact Adrian Jones (UCL) by email at


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