Related Research Areas
Earth Surface & Interior

This proposed project is designed to take advantage of the PI's interest and expertise in spaceborne volcano monitoring and science education, as well as collaborative connections with academia, the US Geological Survey Volcano Observatories and the National Park Service to: 1) Conduct basic research in remote sensing of active volcanoes, focusing on evaluating volcanic thermal features for A) time-series / background studies, B) near-real-time monitoring of on-going activity, and C) developing methods to model sub-pixel thermal mixing and automate data processing 2) Inspire, educate, recruit and train students and aspiring Earth scientists 3) Promote and increase the use of spaceborne remote sensing by applying these observations to a phenomenon - active volcanism - that is both, relevant to our society, and exciting to most people (even those not initially interested in science). Systematic and continuous spaceborne observation of Earth's volcanoes is the only way to safely and globally monitor the dynamic volcanic processes that are both, potentially hazardous to half a billion people around the world, and also informative about how the solid Earth is linked to other Earth systems. Because volcanoes commonly exhibit anomalous thermal behavior before major eruptions, volcanic thermal features are studied and systematically monitored for potentially predictive applications. Over the last few decades, spaceborne remote sensing tools have played an increasingly important role in these monitoring efforts. As a result, there is a tremendous amount of satellite remote sensing data that has been, and is being, acquired that can be used for studying volcanoes. Furthermore, there is currently a deficit, and an increasing demand, for Earth scientists trained in the techniques of remote sensing data acquisition, processing and analysis. This work will use archived, current and future spaceborne observations including visible, near infrared, shortwave infrared, and thermal infrared multispectral and hyperspectral image data to characterize and understand volcanic thermal anomalies with respect to key questions that relate to the recommendations of the NRC decadal survey: 1) How can volcanic hazards be predicted and mitigated by measuring episodic thermal phenomenon? 2) How do volcanoes signal impending eruptions through changes in thermal emissions? 3) How do variations in subtle volcanic thermal features, such as the temperature and composition of crater lakes and hot spring pools, relate to volcanic processes? By collaborating with partners in academia (Northern Arizona University), from the various USGS volcano observatories, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the National Park Service, this project will help support and educate Earth science students interested in this field of study, as well as educate and inspire young learners, teachers and the general public about using NASA satellite observations to study and monitor Earth's active volcanoes.

Project PI: Richard Vaughan/USGS

U.S. Geological Survey, Astrogeology Team 2255 N. Gemini Dr., Flagstaff, AZ, 86001

Phone: 928-556-7006



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Started: Sep 29, 2010

Last Activity: Mar 16, 2011


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