Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New method for monitoring volcanoes

12.03.2009
Seventeen of the world's most active volcanoes have been supplied with monitoring equipment from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden to measure their emission of sulfur dioxide.

The measurement results will be used to make it easier to predict volcano eruptions, and they can also be used to improve today's climate models. One of the Chalmers researchers who developed the monitoring equipment is Mattias Johansson, who recently defended his doctoral dissertation in the subject.

The most active volcanoes in the world have special observatories that monitor them in order to be able to sound the alarm and evacuate people in the vicinity if an eruption threatens. These observatories keep track of several parameters, primarily seismic activity. Now 17 observatories have received a new parameter that facilitates their work - the volcanoes' emissions of sulfur dioxide.

"Increasing gas emissions may indicate that magma is rising inside the volcano," says Mattias Johansson at the Department of Radio and Space Science at Chalmers. "If this information is added to the other parameters, better risk estimates can be made at the observatories."

The equipment he has been working with measures the total amount of gas emitted, whereas most other methods for metering gas can only indicate the gas concentration at a particular point. This is made possible by placing two or more metering instruments in different places around the volcano and then aggregating the information they gather.

Much of the Chalmers researchers' work has involved making the equipment sufficiently automatic, robust, and energy-efficient for use in the inhospitable environment surrounding volcanoes, in poor countries with weak infrastructure.

"I have primarily been working with the software required for processing and presenting the measurement results," says Mattias Johansson. "Among other things, I have created a program that analyzes the data collected, calculates the outward flow of gas, and presents the information as a simple graph on a computer screen that the observatory staff need only glance at to find out how much sulfur dioxide the volcano is emitting at any particular time."

He has also participated in the installation of the equipment on two of the volcanoes, Aetna in Italy and San Cristobal in Nicaragua. In Project Novac, which his research is part of, a total of 20 volcanoes will be provided with monitoring equipment from Chalmers.

It will also be possible to improve global climate models when the Chalmers researchers receive continuous reports about how much sulfur dioxide is emitted by the 20 most active volcanoes.

"Sulfur dioxide is converted in the atmosphere to sulfate particles, and these particles need to be factored into climate models if those models are to be accurate," says Associate Professor Bo Galle, who directed the dissertation. "Volcanoes are an extremely important source of sulfur dioxide. Aetna alone, for instance, releases roughly ten times more sulfur dioxide than all of Sweden does."

The methods that Mattias Johansson has devised can moreover be used to measure the total emissions of air pollutants from an entire city. China has already purchased equipment that they are now using to study the pollution situation in the megacity Beijing.

The dissertation Application of Passive DOAS for Studies of Megacity Air Pollution and Volcanic Gas Emissions was defended on March 5.

For more information, please contact:
Mattias Johansson, Optical Remote Analysis, Department of Radio and Space Science, Chalmers University of Technology
phone: +46 (0)31-772 15 89
mattias.johansson@chalmers.se

Sofie Hebrand | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se
http://publications.lib.chalmers.se/cpl/record/index.xsql?pubid=88868

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Modeling magma to find copper
13.01.2017 | Université de Genève

nachricht What makes erionite carcinogenic?
13.01.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Energy-Efficient Building Operation: Monitoring Platform MONDAS Identifies Energy-Saving Potential

16.01.2017 | Trade Fair News

Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

16.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction

Sensory Stimuli Control Dopamine in the Brain

13.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>