National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 1998

Calculation of lava effusion rates from Landsat TM data

Harris, A.J., L.P. Flynn, L. Keszthelyi, P.J. Mouginis-Mark, S.K. Rowland, and J.A. Resing

Bull. Volcanol., 60(1), 52–71, doi: 10.1007/s004450050216 (1998)

We present a thermal model to calculate the total thermal flux for lava flowing in tubes, on the surface, or under shallow water. Once defined, we use the total thermal flux to estimate effusion rates for active flows at Kilauea, Hawaii, on two dates. Input parameters were derived from Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM), field and laboratory measurements. Using these parameters we obtain effusion rates of 1.76 ± 0.57 and 0.78 ± 0.27 m s on 23 July and 11 October 1991, respectively. These rates are corroborated by field measurements of 1.36 ± 0.14 and 0.89 ± 0.09 m s for the same dates (Kauahikaua et al. 1996). Using weather satellite (AVHRR) data of lower spatial resolution, we obtain similar effusion rates for an additional 26 dates between the two TM-derived measurements. We assume that, although total effusion rates at the source declined over the period, the shut down of the ocean entry meant that effusion rates for the surface flows alone remained stable. Such synergetic use of remotely sensed data provides measurements that can (a) contribute to monitoring flow-field evolution, and (b) provide reliable numerical data for input into rheological and thermal models. We look forward to being able to produce estimates for effusion rates using data from high-spatial-resolution sensors in the earth observing systems (EOS) era, such as Landsat 7, the hyperspectral imager, the advanced spaceborne thermal emission spectrometer, and the advanced land imager.

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