• Remote Sensing of Tanzanian Volcano Oldoinyo Lengai: Verifying Detection Methods of Flow Activity

      Frystak, Scott Richard (2013-01-30)
      Every day volcanoes erupt with varying magnitudes across the globe, and remote sensing used to keep track of volcanic activity would be a useful application. One promising use of remote sensing to understand volcanoes at a distance is to distinguish gaseous or lava flow activity. Current methods for differentiating volcanic activity with remote sensing have only been applied at Mt. Etna, and research is still needed to verify that the detection of gaseous or lava flow activity is possible at volcanoes with different compositions. The subject of this study, the Oldoinyo Lengai volcano, is a natrocarbonatite stratovolcano with drastically different chemical composition from Mt. Etna. These composition differences allow for the verification of gaseous or lava flow activity remotely over time. Furthermore, looking closely at how volcano composition affects detection will allow us to understand the variables required to detect gaseous or lava flow activity. The results of the research are inconclusive, but provide useful information for this application of remote sensing. For Oldoinyo Lengai, the Landsat TM data were unable to resolve lava flows or degassing activity, due to a combination of the volcano’s small size, the lack of lava flows, and/or pixel saturation. Superior sensors such as hyperspectral sensors are needed to adequately perform the analysis, and would likely result in the capability to differentiate volcanic activity. Further applicability of the study is prudent due to the varying nature of volcanoes and sensors. Gathering additional detailed information should be at the forefront of volcanic monitoring research.