Rapid Response: Volcano Monitoring
Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii
USGS National Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Project Office and Department of the Interior (DOI) Office of Aviation Services (OAS) equipment and trained personnel were deployed on Thursday, May 17 to support the remote sensing data acquisition needed for the monitoring of the Kilauea Volcano eruptions in Hawaii. Proper authorizations from the Federal Aviation Administration, DOI agencies, and the local Emergency Operations organizations were established and approved for an extended period of UAS operations.
Monitoring of the volcanic activity through use of thermal video imagery and gas sensors on-board the UAS were requested and additional ground mapping of the volcanic fissures around the island are of the highest priorities for geospatial data and will continue to be so into the next few weeks. This near real-time monitoring of the volcano and crater for scientific measurements and modeling should help better predict future activity. In addition, assistance to the local county and fire emergency managers in support of monitoring lava movement toward the Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV) Hawaiian Electric Plant had an immediate demand for geospatial data. UAS payloads have also been adapted/reconfigured as required to provide periodic assistance to local emergency managers, including investigation of lava-surrounded communities for potentially-stranded people and delivery of live video feeds of lava flow conditions/paths to the EOC in support of emergency evacuation efforts.
Videos of the UAS Team in Action:
UAS survey of Halema‘uma‘u crater rim, June 13, 2018
Aerial imagery of Kīlauea summit activity, May 21, 2018
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