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Abstract

The synoptic coverage offered by satellites provides unparalleled opportunities for monitoring active volcanoes, and opens new avenues of scientific inquiry. Thermal infrared radiation can be used to monitor levels of activity, which is useful for automated eruption detection and for studying the emplacement of lava flows. Satellite radars can observe volcanoes through clouds or at night, and provide high-resolution topographic data. In favorable conditions, radar inteferometery can be used to measure ground deformation associated with eruptive activity on a centimetric scale. Clouds from explosive eruptions present a pressing hazard to aviation; therefore, techniques are being developed to assess eruption cloud height and to discriminate between ash and meterological clouds. The multitude of sensors to be launched on future generations of space platforms promises to greatly enhance volcanological studies, but a satellite dedicated to volcanology is needed to meet requirements of aviation safety and volcano monitoring.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.earth.28.1.81
2000-05-01
2024-04-16
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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