Volcanology Hyspiri Study site
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Volcanology HyspIRI Study

HyspIRI is a Tier 2 mission recommended to NASA by the National Research Council’s Decadal Survey report. One of the main goals of the HyspIRI mission is to provide global observations of surface attributes at local and landscape spatial scales (10’s of meters to hundreds of kilometers) to map volcanic gases and surface temperatures, which are identified as indicators of impending volcanic hazards; as well as plume ejecta which pose risks to aircraft and people and property downwind. We have created precursor HyspIRI data sets for volcanological analyses, using existing data over Mt. Etna, Italy. We used ASTER data acquisitions and Hyperion EO-1 data acquisitions. These data sets provided us with 30 m hyperspectral VSWIR data and 90 m multispectral TIR. They allowed us to examine temporal sequences of several Etnaean eruptions. We addressed the following critical questions, directly related to understanding eruption hazards:

1) What do changes in SO2 emissions tell us about a volcano’s activity? 2) How do we use measurements of lava flow temperature and volume to predict advances of the flow front? 3) What do changes in lava lake temperatures and energy emissions tell us about possible eruptive behavior?

Aerial view from the NE of Mt Etna

Fig 1: Aerial view from the NE of Mt Etna during simultaneous summit and flank eruptions.


Mapping SO2 emissions was done using REALMUTO Software applied to our precursor HyspIRI data sets. We calculated the column abundance of SO2 all along Etna’s plumes. Examining the time history of SO2, compared with eruption history, provided us some indication of the correlation between the two.

View of Mt. Etna summit area

Fig 2: View of Mt. Etna summit area looking to the W showing Northeast, Southeast and Central craters.

Data from the VSWIR and TIR allowed us to determine radiant temperatures over a wide range: edges of lava flows at 100C, to magmatic lava at 1100C. This improved characterization of flows is a crucial input into flow models for predicting run-out lengths. Similarly, improved accuracy for determining temperatures of lava lakes will provide better insight into the internal plumbing of Etna, and the state of magma ascent from depths.

In the area of sensor modeling we fixed the Lmax values for the 4 micron channel and examine the recommendation for a low gain 8-14 micron channel. We will simulate, in general, the response of HyspIRI (both the VSWIR and TIR) to active lavas using a combination of high resolution FLIR images, Hyperion spectra, Landsat images to simulate (using a stochastic approach) the surface leaving radiance from real lava flow fields. Convolving this with spectral response curves and PSFs for HyspIRI will allow us to analyze how lava flows will be sensed by HyspIRI.

The investigators who accomplished this project are: Michael Abrams (JPL), Dave Pieri (JPL), Vince Realmuto (JPL), and Rob Wright (U Hawaii).