Drone mapping Villarrica volcano in Chile
Drone mapping of an active volcano is an incredible feat, one that would not have been feasible, or practical, without drone/uav technology. This was done with senseFly technology and they released this information today:
The flight, which took place on March 5, was commissioned by staff at the University of Concepción’s Geophysics Department, who required an accurate 3D model that detailed the newly altered, post-eruption terrain inside the volcano’s crater. This model was generated by Geospaciousing aerial photographs captured by its eBee drone.
The scientists also planned to commission a second drone mission—now expected to take place later this week—the plan being to compare the two resulting 3D models in order to evaluate ongoing changes in the crater’s morphology.
By analysing the changes in terrain between the two models, caused by pressure build-up, the scientists should to be able to better understand the levels of energy present in the volcano post-eruption and therefore more accurately calculate the probability of future eruptions — representing a real advance for science and volcano alert management.
“With this tool (eBee) we can identify substantial changes in crater morphology, allowing us to determine whether the volcano is entering into an energy accumulation phase or not,” said Jose Luis Palma, Geologist and Volcanologist at the University from University of Concepción.
The University’s team first contacted Geospacio on March 1. The volcano erupted on March 3. After receiving government permission to fly and arriving on-site, Geospacio’s team flew its eBee aerial imaging drone on March 5, capturing geotagged images of the crater with which it generated its model.
For the flight itself, Geospacio’s eBee drone took off approximately 1,000 metres away from the volcano and flew at an altitude of 200 metres above the crater’s rim. The 3D model Geospacio’s team produced featured a resolution of 5 cm/pixel and allowed the University’s team to learn, for example, that Villarrica’s ‘new’ crater featured a diameter of 190 meters and reached a maximum depth of 47 meters, with a total volume of some 2,510 cubic metres.
View the mission’s images (Facebook)
Read more in the Chilean media (all articles below in Spanish):
· El Daario Austral (Temuco) report