USGS To Conduct Lidar Survey of Volcanic Eruption

Since the end of 2018’s volcanic activity, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists have wanted to resurvey Kīlauea Volcano’s ground surface to document changes brought about by the Puna eruption and summit collapse. Doing so would allow them to more accurately answer questions about the total volumes of erupted lava and summit subsidence that occurred last summer.

Mapo of USGS to Perform Lidar Survey of Lava Flows

USGS to Perform Lidar Survey of Lava Flows

From an article in Big Island Video News.

By detailing these changes, it could also facilitate recovery and long-term risk mitigation projects by local partner agencies. A new survey would also allow comparison to earlier digital elevation data sets acquired by both helicopter lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) and by UAS (unmanned aerial systems) imagery during Kīlauea’s 2018 eruption.

We are happy to announce that our desire to resurvey Kīlauea will soon become a reality. The precision of this new survey will improve the accuracy of those earlier data sets.

The data will be acquired by a bright yellow helicopter flying over much of Kīlauea’s summit and East Rift Zone at an altitude of 396 m (1,300 ft) above ground level (agl). The aircraft will fly in a lawn-mowing pattern, back and forth in a northeast-southwest direction. A few smaller areas on Kīlauea, namely parts of the East Rift Zone (Leilani Estates, Ala`Ili Rd, and Puʻu ʻŌʻō), the upper Southwest Rift Zone, and the summit caldera, will be flown at a lower altitude of 152 m (500 ft) agl.

These helicopter flights are currently planned for the period of June 13 to June 30, 2019, weather permitting.

The USGS survey will use lidar technology capable of sending out hundreds of laser pulses per second. This should allow coverage of at least 30 laser pulses per square meter (ppsm), or about 3 pulses per square foot. The lower elevation flights will allow coverage of at least 100 ppsm, or about 9 pulses per square foot.

Why collect the lidar with such high-resolution? It’s the best way to detect and map vertical or near-vertical features, and there are a lot of them—from ground cracks everywhere, to fissures in the lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) and caldera walls at Kīlauea’s summit. High-resolution lidar is the best way to document and measure these potentially hazardous features.

For the entire article click here.

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