First mission: USGS UAS monitors gas emissions at Mount St. Helens

Download Video
Right-click and save to download

Detailed Description

On September 25, 2018, a team of three scientists based at the USGS–Cascades Volcano Observatory conducted the first-ever USGS-led Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) campaign at Mount St. Helens. The UAS survey was conducted with the permission and coordination of the U.S. Forest Service Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

The team used a multi-rotor UAS (“drone”) outfitted with a miniature USGS-developed MultiGAS sensor to measure quiescent gas emissions above the 2004-2008 lava dome within the crater of Mount St. Helens. These new technologies allowed the team to characterize degassing at Mount St. Helens in unprecedented detail.


The UAS survey confirmed that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the 2004-2008 lava dome are extremely low and that water vapor constitutes the vast majority (>99%) of present-day gas emissions. Much of this water vapor is not derived from magma, but instead is produced when shallow meteoric and surface waters (e.g. snow melt) comes into contact with hot dome rocks, generating steam.


The UAS fills an important monitoring role at volcanoes. Its small size and maneuverability allow scientists to use portable monitoring technologies like the MultiGAS, in hazardous areas. The data is combined with that collected using traditional manned aircraft and at permanent monitoring stations, to gain a better understanding of gas emissions at Mount St. Helens. The successful application of these technologies at Mount St. Helens demonstrates the importance of these surveys in the Cascade Range and at other active volcanoes around the globe.

Details

Image Dimensions: 1920 x 1080

Date Taken:

Length: 00:04:29

Location Taken: Vancouver, WA, US

Video Credits

UAS footage by Angie Diefenbach
Images by Peter Kelly and Laura Clor
Video by Liz Westby
Music by Scott Holmes "Suspect Located" and Cambo "Travel" from freemusicarchive.org

Transcript

First mission: USGS Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) monitors gas emissions at Mount St. Helens

September 25, 2018

Video from the U.S. Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory

 

The first-ever USGS UAS campaign at Mount St. Helens was led by a team of three scientists

 

The purpose of the mission was to collect gas emissions data from the 2004-2008 lava dome

 

The data helped the team characterize degassing at Mount St. Helens in unprecedented detail

 

A multi-rotor UAS (“drone”) outfitted with a mini-MultiGAS sensor measured H2O and CO2 emissions from the dome

 

The UAS covered over 10,000 ft2 flew 7 routes and sampled 7 individual plumes

 

The UAS survey confirmed more than 99% of emissions are water vapor and CO2 emissions are extremely low

 

Most water vapor is generated when rainfall or melting ice and snow encounters hot dome rock

 

A small fraction of the gas comes from magma reminding us that Mount St. Helens is an active volcano

 

New technologies broaden our understanding of how volcanoes work…

 

as we continue to meet the challenges of monitoring volcanoes and assessing volcanic hazards.

The UAS survey was conducted with the permission and coordination of the U.S. Forest Service Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

Data collected by UAS, traditional manned aircraft and at a permanent monitoring station on the lava dome, are used to gain a greater understanding of gas emissions at Mount St. Helens.

When used in combination with other monitoring data, such as seismicity and ground deformation, we can piece together a comprehensive model of the present state of the volcano and better detect the early indications of unrest.

This information is used to assess hazards and to deliver volcano updates to local governments, public officials, the media, and the public.

 

Video by the U.S. Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory

UAS footage by Angie Diefenbach

Images by Peter Kelly and Laura Clor

Video by Liz Westby

Music by Scott Holmes "Suspect Located" and Cambo "Travel" from freemusicarchive.org

2018

For more information about Mount St. Helens visit volcanoes.usgs.gov