Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Geology (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


Gregory Phillip Waite


Simon Anthony Carn


Magmatic volatiles play a crucial role in volcanism, from magma production at depth to generation of seismic phenomena to control of eruption style. Accordingly, many models of volcano dynamics rely heavily on behavior of such volatiles. Yet measurements of emission rates of volcanic gases have historically been limited, which has restricted model verification to processes on the order of days or longer.

UV cameras are a recent advancement in the field of remote sensing of volcanic SO2 emissions. They offer enhanced temporal and spatial resolution over previous measurement techniques, but need development before they can be widely adopted and achieve the promise of integration with other geophysical datasets. Large datasets require a means by which to quickly and efficiently use imagery to calculate emission rates. We present a suite of programs designed to semi-automatically determine emission rates of SO2 from series of UV images. Extraction of high temporal resolution SO2 emission rates via this software facilitates comparison of gas data to geophysical data for the purposes of evaluating models of volcanic activity and has already proven useful at several volcanoes.

Integrated UV camera and seismic measurements recorded in January 2009 at Fuego volcano, Guatemala, provide new insight into the system’s shallow conduit processes. High temporal resolution SO2 data reveal patterns of SO2 emission rate relative to explosions and seismic tremor that indicate tremor and degassing share a common source process. Progressive decreases in emission rate appear to represent inhibition of gas loss from magma as a result of rheological stiffening in the upper conduit. Measurements of emission rate from two closely-spaced vents, made possible by the high spatial resolution of the camera, help constrain this model.

UV camera measurements at Kilauea volcano, Hawaii, in May of 2010 captured two occurrences of lava filling and draining within the summit vent. Accompanying high lava stands were diminished SO2 emission rates, decreased seismic and infrasonic tremor, minor deflation, and slowed lava lake surface velocity. Incorporation of UV camera data into the multi-parameter dataset gives credence to the likelihood of shallow gas accumulation as the cause of such events.

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Geology Commons