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Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 3, issue 1 | Copyright
Geosci. Instrum. Method. Data Syst., 3, 13-20, 2014
© Author(s) 2014. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 05 Feb 2014

Research article | 05 Feb 2014

Autonomous thermal camera system for monitoring the active lava lake at Erebus volcano, Antarctica

N. Peters1, C. Oppenheimer1, and P. Kyle2 N. Peters et al.
  • 1Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Downing Place, Cambridge, CB2 3EN, UK
  • 2New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, USA

Abstract. In December 2012, the Mount Erebus Volcano Observatory installed a thermal infrared camera system to monitor the volcano's active lava lake. The new system is designed to be autonomous, and capable of capturing images of the lava lake continuously throughout the year. This represents a significant improvement over previous systems which required the frequent attention of observatory researchers and could therefore only be operated during a few weeks of the annual field campaigns. The extreme environmental conditions at the summit of Erebus pose significant challenges for continuous monitoring equipment, and a custom-made system was the only viable solution. Here we describe the hardware and software of the new system in detail and report on a publicly available online repository where data will be archived. Aspects of the technical solutions we had to find in order to overcome the challenges of automating this equipment may be relevant in other environmental science domains where remote instrument operation is involved.

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