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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2017-335
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
28 Nov 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (AMT).
Multicopter measurements of volcanic gas emissions at Masaya (Nicaragua), Turrialba (Costa Rica) and Stromboli (Italy) volcanoes: Applications for volcano monitoring and insights into halogen speciation
Julian Rüdiger1,a, Lukas Tirpitz2, J. Maarten de Moor3, Nicole Bobrowski2,4,5, Alexandra Gutmann1, Marco Liuzzo6, Martha Ibarra7, and Thorsten Hoffmann1 1Johannes Gutenberg-University, Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
2Institute for Environmental Physics, Heidelberg, Germany
3Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica, Heredia, Costa Rica
4Johannes Gutenberg-University, Institute of Geosciences, Mainz, Germany
5Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
6Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Palermo, Italy
7Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales, Managua, Nicaragua
anow at: University of Bayreuth, Atmospheric Chemistry, Bayreuth, Germany
Abstract. Volcanoes are a natural source of several reactive gases (e.g. sulfur and halogen containing species), as well as non-reactive gases (e.g. carbon dioxide). Besides that, halogen chemistry in volcanic plumes might have important impacts on atmospheric chemistry, carbon to sulfur ratios and sulfur dioxide fluxes are important established parameters to gain information on subsurface processes. In this study we demonstrate the successful deployment of a multirotor UAV (quadcopter) system with custom-made lightweight payloads on board for the compositional analysis and gas flux estimation of volcanic plumes. The various applications and their potential with such new measurement strategy are presented and discussed on example studies at three volcanoes encompassing flight heights of 450 m to 3300 m and various states of volcanic activity. Field applications were performed at Stromboli Volcano (Italy), Turrialba Volcano (Costa Rica) and Masaya Volcano (Nicaragua). Two in-situ gas-measuring systems adapted for autonomous airborne measurements, based on electrochemical and optical detection principles, as well as an airborne sampling unit, are introduced. We show volcanic gas composition results including, abundances of CO2, SO2 and halogen species. The new instrumental set-ups were compared with established instruments during ground-based measurements. For total SO2 flux estimations a small differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS) system measured SO2 column amounts on transversal flights below the plume, showing the potential to replace ground-based manned operations.

At Stromboli volcano, short-term fluctuation of the CO2 / SO2 ratios could be determined and confirm an increased CO2 / SO2 ratio in spatial and temporal proximity to explosions by airborne in-situ measurements. Reactive bromine to sulfur ratios of 0.19 × 10−4 to 9.8 × 10−4 were measured in-situ in the plume of Stromboli volcano downwind of the vent.


Citation: Rüdiger, J., Tirpitz, L., de Moor, J. M., Bobrowski, N., Gutmann, A., Liuzzo, M., Ibarra, M., and Hoffmann, T.: Multicopter measurements of volcanic gas emissions at Masaya (Nicaragua), Turrialba (Costa Rica) and Stromboli (Italy) volcanoes: Applications for volcano monitoring and insights into halogen speciation, Atmos. Meas. Tech. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2017-335, in review, 2017.
Julian Rüdiger et al.
Julian Rüdiger et al.
Julian Rüdiger et al.

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Short summary
Volcanic gas emission studies are important for monitoring active volcanoes, get insights into subsurface processes and open up an interesting domain for atmospheric chemistry investigations. Using an unmanned aerial vehicle, commonly called drone, we were able to study various volcanic gases at sites, which are typically too dangerous to access otherwise. The use of drones for volcano monitoring and gas measurements in harsh environments was assessed successfully.
Volcanic gas emission studies are important for monitoring active volcanoes, get insights into...
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