VERSUS - Open-Vent Volcano Remote Sensing Monitoring Using Spaceborne Imagery

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Context and objectives

Volcanic eruptions represent a threat for populations living close to active volcanoes. Research focused on volcanic processes ultimately leading to an eruption is therefore crucial. Such research is best tackled through interdisciplinary approaches relying on the synergetic exploitation of observational datasets from ground-based instruments and satellite sensors, notably for remote and under-monitored active volcanoes. There is currently no satellite mission dedicated solely to the surveillance of volcanic activity. However, the new generation of satellites and sensors with improved sensitivity and spatial and temporal resolutions is a game-changer for volcano monitoring from space, and most remains to be done and explored.

In the mother project RESIST (2014-2019), we developed new remote sensing tools that were used to study the eruptive activity of the Virunga volcanoes (Eastern D.R. Congo). Results showed promising perspective to further study persistent lava lakes using satellite remote sensing, especially with the new generations of satellites and sensors. In the VeRSUS project, we would like to take advantage of these opened perspectives and complement them with other volcano remote sensing approaches, in order to improve the study of persistent lava lakes and, hence, crustal magmatic processes. This main objective can be divided into two specific ones:

  1. Exploring and developing the capacity of new satellites sensors to provide complementary quantitative information on the dynamics of persistent lava lakes, and
  2. Getting a better understanding of the source mechanisms of variations in the lava lake activity.

Project outcome

Expected scientific results

  • Several scientific articles in international peer-reviewed journals
  • Quantitative description of persistent eruptive activity.
  • Improved interpretation of the dynamics of persistent lava lakes and the related magmatic processes.

Expected products and services

  • Time-series of ground deformation, lava lake level measurements, thermal anomalies and radiative heat fluxes, and SO2 emissions over persistent lava lakes (at least Nyiragongo, Nyamulagira and Kīlauea).
  • Assessment of the main satellite remote sensing capabilities of instruments on-board satellites and constellations of satellites.
Project leader(s): MRAC/KMMA - Department Earth Sciences
Belgian partner(s)
THEYS Nicolas BIRA - IASB - Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy
Location: Region:
  • Western Virunga Volcanic Province (D.R. Congo), Kīlauea volcano, Hawaii (U.S.A.)

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