Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Geology (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


Simon Anthony Carn


Time-averaged discharge rates (TADR) were calculated for five lava flows at Pacaya Volcano (Guatemala), using an adapted version of a previously developed satellite-based model. Imagery acquired during periods of effusive activity between the years 2000 and 2010 were obtained from two sensors of differing temporal and spatial resolutions; the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), and the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) Imager. A total of 2873 MODIS and 2642 GOES images were searched manually for volcanic “hot spots”. It was found that MODIS imagery, with superior spatial resolution, produced better results than GOES imagery, so only MODIS data were used for quantitative analyses. Spectral radiances were transformed into TADR via two methods; first, by best-fitting some of the parameters (i.e. density, vesicularity, crystal content, temperature change) of the TADR estimation model to match flow volumes previously estimated from ground surveys and aerial photographs, and second by measuring those parameters from lava samples to make independent estimates. A relatively stable relationship was defined using the second method, which suggests the possibility of estimating lava discharge rates in near-real-time during future volcanic crises at Pacaya.

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Geology Commons