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NASA spiders monitor Mount St Helens 17 August 2009

Posted by admin in current research, Mount St Helens, natural hazards, United States, volcano monitoring.
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A burst of publicity has accompanied the deployment by NASA of high-tech monitoring units called ‘spiders’ (consisting of a body containing instruments, supported by eight – no, three – spindly legs) at Mount St Helens. The story isn’t new in itself: ‘spiders’ have been in use for some time at the volcano, with scientists varying the instrument payload inside each spider as conditions and budgets required.

‘Each pod’, reports ScienceDaily, ‘contains a seismometer to detect earthquakes; a GPS receiver to pinpoint the exact location and measure subtle ground deformation; an infrared sounder to sense volcanic explosions; and a lightning detector to search for ash cloud formation’. The idea is that the spiders represent a cost-effective, quick-deploying and flexible means of monitoring volcanoes that are showing signs of activity, and could be particularly valuable in providing networks for unmonitored volcanoes in remote and/or less technologically developed parts of the world. More from the ScienceDaily report:

‘We hope this network will provide a blueprint for future networks to be installed on many of the world’s unmonitored active volcanoes, so educated and reliable estimates can be made when a town or a village needs to be evacuated to reduce the risk to life and property’, said Project Manager Sharon Kedar (shah-RONE keh-DARR) of JPL.

The spiders are developed and deployed in a joint project involving Washington State University, USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Pasadena (pas-ah-DEE-nah).

NASA goes inside a volcano, monitors activity – ScienceDaily, 12 August 2009
NASA drops ‘spiders’ into volcano – National Geographic News, 13 August 2009
NASA drops probes into volatile volcano – LiveScience, 14 August 2009

Global Volcanism Program: Mount St Helens – summary information for Mount St Helens (1201-05-)
Volcano Sensorweb – JPL Volcano Sensorweb website

The Volcanism Blog

Okmok satellite image 24 July 2008

Posted by admin in Alaska, eruptions, natural hazards, Okmok, United States.
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The NASA Earth Observatory has published an image of Alaska’s Okmok volcano in eruption, taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite yesterday, 23 July 2008. There was a great deal of cloud around, but the volcano’s plume, blowing eastwards and trending more to the south as it extends further from its source, shows clearly.

Okmok erupts, 23 July 2008 (NASA image)

The close-up below is taken from the large high-resolution version of the image. The dense white clouds over the caldera are water vapour, while the ash-laden plume, grey-brown in colour, streams away eastwards.

Okmok erupts, 23 July 2008 (NASA image)

Clicking on the images above will take you to the original source page. Credit: NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team.

Global Volcanism Program: Okmok – summary information for Okmok (1101-29-)
Alaska Volcano Observatory Okmok eruption page – Okmok information and updates from the AVO

The Volcanism Blog