An automated SO2 camera system for continuous, real-time monitoring of gas emissions from Kīlauea Volcano's summit Overlook Crater

Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
By: , and 



SO2 camera systems allow rapid two-dimensional imaging of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emitted from volcanic vents. Here, we describe the development of an SO2 camera system specifically designed for semi-permanent field installation and continuous use. The integration of innovative but largely “off-the-shelf” components allowed us to assemble a robust and highly customizable instrument capable of continuous, long-term deployment at Kīlauea Volcano's summit Overlook Crater. Recorded imagery is telemetered to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) where a novel automatic retrieval algorithm derives SO2 column densities and emission rates in real-time. Imagery and corresponding emission rates displayed in the HVO operations center and on the internal observatory website provide HVO staff with useful information for assessing the volcano's current activity. The ever-growing archive of continuous imagery and high-resolution emission rates in combination with continuous data from other monitoring techniques provides insight into shallow volcanic processes occurring at the Overlook Crater. An exemplary dataset from September 2013 is discussed in which a variation in the efficiency of shallow circulation and convection, the processes that transport volatile-rich magma to the surface of the summit lava lake, appears to have caused two distinctly different phases of lake activity and degassing. This first successful deployment of an SO2 camera for continuous, real-time volcano monitoring shows how this versatile technique might soon be adapted and applied to monitor SO2 degassing at other volcanoes around the world.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title An automated SO2 camera system for continuous, real-time monitoring of gas emissions from Kīlauea Volcano's summit Overlook Crater
Series title Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
DOI 10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2014.12.004
Volume 300
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Elsevier Science
Publisher location Amsterdam, Netherlands
Contributing office(s) Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Volcano Science Center
Description 14 p.
First page 81
Last page 94
Country United States
State Hawai'i
Other Geospatial Kīlauea Volcano
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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