VIDEO: Drones Help Scientists Study Guatemalan Volcanoes

A new video from DCO’s Emma Liu (University of Cambridge, UK) and colleagues shows breathtaking aerial footage of the very active Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala.


Liu and her colleagues used three different kinds of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to get up close and personal with Volcán de Fuego during an eruptive period in February 2017. Following these successful pilot measurements, the team will return to Volcán de Fuego later this year to fly fully-instrumented flights. The video is the result of a collaboration between aerospace engineers at the University of Bristol, UK and volcanologists at the Universities of Cambridge and Bristol, UK and the Università degli Studi di Palermo, Italy.

Liu is particularly interested in volcanic gas and trace metal emissions across the Central American arc. Working with fellow DCO Reservoirs and Fluxes members Marie Edmonds (University of Cambridge, UK), Alessandro Aiuppa, and Gaetano Giudice (both at the Università degli Studi di Palermo, Italy), Liu’s gas measurements from drones will contribute data directly to DCO’s DECADE (Deep Earth Carbon Degassing) project. A key advance has been reducing the size of Multi-GAS monitoring instruments so they are light enough to fly onboard the drone, alongside filter packs for sampling ash, gas, and metal aerosols from directly above the vents. With Volcán de Fuego as a test bed, the team plans to extend their drone measurements to other volcanoes along the arc.

Read more about Liu's work in this press release from the University of Cambridge, UK. 

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