Thermal infrared (TIR) data from the MASTER airborne imaging spectrometer were acquired over Mount St. Helens in Sept and Oct, 2004, before and after the onset of recent eruptive activity. Pre-eruption data showed no measurable increase in surface temperatures before the first phreatic eruption on Oct 1. MASTER data acquired during the initial eruptive episode on Oct 14 showed maximum temperatures of ???330??C and TIR data acquired concurrently from a Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) camera showed maximum temperatures ???675??C, in narrow (???1-m) fractures of molten rock on a new resurgent dome. MASTER and FLIR thermal flux calculations indicated a radiative cooling rate of ???714 J/m2/S over the new dome, corresponding to a radiant power of ???24 MW. MASTER data indicated the new dome was dacitic in composition, and digital elevation data derived from LIDAR acquired concurrently with MASTER showed that the dome growth correlated with the areas of elevated temperatures. Low SO2 concentrations in the plume combined with sub-optimal viewing conditions prohibited quantitative measurement of plume SO2. The results demonstrate that airborne TIR data can provide information on the temperature of both the surface and plume and the composition of new lava during eruptive episodes. Given sufficient resources, the airborne instrumentation could be deployed rapidly to a newly-awakening volcano and provide a means for remote volcano monitoring. Copyright 2005 by the American Geophysical Union.
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Monitoring eruptive activity at Mount St. Helens with TIR image data