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LiDAR tracks changes in active volcano

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US: New Mexico tech masters student Laura Jones is using LiDAR technology to track changes in lava lake and ice caves at an active volcano, Mount Erebus in Antarctica.

During the observation, time series data allowed Laura to track the rise and fall of the lava lake that seems to happen in several minute cycles, possibly coinciding with magma convection within the lake. What she has concluded is that, not only has the lava lake changed dramatically in shape, but it has actually dropped in depth by tens of meters.

Laura Jones is using an Optech Ilris 3D LIDAR system, which can achieve centimetre-scale resolution at distances of several hundred meters. That means that, even perched atop the crater rim, Laura can point her LiDAR at the Erebus lava lake (some 350 meters away) and return extremely high-resolution, high-density data.

Source: www.sciencefriday.com