Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Laser Technology Helps Track Changes In Mount St. Helens

26.10.2004


Photograph taken on October 1, 2004 of renewed volcanic activity within the crater formed by the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. Recent activity, concentrated on the south side of the volcanic dome formed in the 1980s, includes uplift of a new dome from beneath the crater glacier and formation of vents by glacier melting and explosive eruptions of steam and ash. Credit: USGS


Elevation differences in the crater were found between two airborne LIDAR surveys conducted in September, 2003 and October 4, 2003. The image is a computer-generated representation of the October 4 topography. The superimposed colors indicate areas of change: areas where elevation has lowered between 0.5 to 30 meters (blue); areas where elevation has increased between 1.5 to 40 m, 40 m to 80 m, and 80 m to 120 m are green, yellow, and orange, respectively. Credit: USGS and NASA


U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and NASA scientists studying Mount St. Helens are using high-tech Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology to analyze changes in the surface elevation of the crater, which began deforming in late September 2004.

With data derived from airborne LIDAR, scientists can accurately map, often in exquisite detail, the dimensions of the uplift and create better models to forecast volcanic hazards. LIDAR shows, in the two weeks before Oct. 4, the new uplift grew to the height of a 35-story building (110 meters or 360 feet) and the area of 29 football fields (130,000 square meters).

"This is the first time USGS and NASA have teamed to use LIDAR to measure volcano deformation," said USGS scientist Ralph Haugerud. He noted LIDAR technology enables researchers to compare with greater accuracy than ever before the topography before and after volcanic events. "The resulting pictures of topographic change can reveal information found in no other kind of data set," added David Harding, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.



In 2003 the USGS contracted a LIDAR survey of Mount St. Helens. In early September 2004, USGS and NASA scientists began detailed planning for a second survey. The survey, contracted by NASA, would extend the area covered by the first survey. But when the mountain began rumbling on Sept. 23, USGS and NASA scientists accelerated plans and re- surveyed the mountain on Oct. 4. The topographic changes resulting from the unrest at Mount St. Helens are shown in detail in the Oct. 4, 2004, LIDAR survey.

Some of the Mount St. Helens features related to the volcanic unrest visualized in the new LIDAR-derived Digital Elevation Model (DEM) include growth of a new volcanic dome south of the 1980-1986 volcanic dome and new steam-and-ash vents. Additional changes between the two LIDAR surveys unrelated to the volcanic unrest include shrinking snow fields, several rock falls, movement of three rock glaciers, and growth of the crater glacier, which has been an ongoing subject of USGS research at Mount St. Helens.

Comparison and analysis of the DEMs from the two surveys by Haugerud and Harding show, as of Oct. 4, 2004, 5.3 million cubic meters (6.9 million cubic yards) of volume change occurred in the area of uplift. This analysis confirms photogrammetric measurements made over the same period by the USGS.

Linda Mark, a hydrologist with the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory, said "Global Positioning System data provide us with very accurate point measurements of deformation, but only at locations where we can place an instrument. LIDAR, however, helps us quantify the ongoing deformation in the crater of Mount St. Helens with lesser accuracy but over a much broader area. Used together, the two methods complement each other, and the LIDAR-derived DEMs can be used for modeling efforts to help forecast volcanic hazards."

LIDAR mapping uses a scanning laser rangefinder mounted in a small aircraft to measure distances from the aircraft to the ground several tens of thousands of times each second. It commonly measures the ground position at points a meter apart with vertical accuracy as good as 10 centimeters (four inches).

NASA scientists and engineers in the 1980s and 1990s pioneered airborne LIDAR mapping, Harding said. "Because of its very high accuracy and fast turn-around of results, LIDAR is rapidly becoming the preferred method for detailed topographic mapping and is conducted worldwide on a commercial basis by numerous companies," he said.

Krishna Ramanujan | NASA
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/mshelenslidar.html
http://www.nasa.gov

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology
22.06.2017 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

nachricht How reliable are shells as climate archives?
21.06.2017 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>