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Accurately measuring volcanic plume velocity with multiple UV spectrometers

January 1, 2006

A fundamental problem with all ground-based remotely sensed measurements of volcanic gas flux is the difficulty in accurately measuring the velocity of the gas plume. Since a representative wind speed and direction are used as proxies for the actual plume velocity, there can be considerable uncertainty in reported gas flux values. Here we present a method that uses at least two time-synchronized simultaneously recording UV spectrometers (FLYSPECs) placed a known distance apart. By analyzing the time varying structure of SO2 concentration signals at each instrument, the plume velocity can accurately be determined. Experiments were conducted on Kīlauea (USA) and Masaya (Nicaragua) volcanoes in March and August 2003 at plume velocities between 1 and 10 m s−1. Concurrent ground-based anemometer measurements differed from FLYSPEC-measured plume speeds by up to 320%. This multi-spectrometer method allows for the accurate remote measurement of plume velocity and can therefore greatly improve the precision of volcanic or industrial gas flux measurements.

Publication Year 2006
Title Accurately measuring volcanic plume velocity with multiple UV spectrometers
DOI 10.1007/s00445-005-0013-x
Authors Glyn Williams-Jones, Keith A. Horton, Tamar Elias, Harold Garbeil, Peter J. Mouginis-Mark, A. Jeff Sutton, Andrew J. L. Harris
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Bulletin of Volcanology
Index ID 70030907
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse