Low-Cost Photogrammetric Technique Used to Measure Dome Growth at Mount St. Helens Volcano, 2007-2007
We describe a low-cost application of digital photogrammetry using commercial grade software, an off-the-shelf digital camera, a laptop computer and oblique photographs to reconstruct volcanic dome morphology during the on-going eruption at Mount St. Helens, Washington. Renewed activity at Mount St. Helens provides a rare opportunity to devise and test new methods for better understanding and predicting volcanic events, because the new method can be validated against other observations on this well-instrumented volcano. Uncalibrated, oblique aerial photographs (snap shots) taken from a helicopter are the raw data. Twelve sets of overlapping digital images of the dome taken during 2004-2007 were used to produce digital elevation models (DEMs) from which dome height, eruption volume and extrusion rate can be derived. Analyses of the digital images were carried out using PhotoModeler software, which produces three dimensional coordinates of points identified in multiple photos. The steps involved include: (1) calibrating the digital camera using this software package, (2) establishing control points derived from existing DEMs, (3) identifying tie points located in each photo of any given model date, and (4) identifying points in pairs of photos to build a three dimensional model of the evolving dome at each photo date. Text files of three-dimensional points encompassing the dome at each date were imported into ArcGIS and three-dimensional models (triangulated irregular network or TINs) were generated. TINs were then converted to 2 m raster DEMs. The evolving morphology of the growing dome was modeled by comparison of successive DEMs. The volume of extruded lava visible in each DEM was calculated using the 1986 pre-eruption crater floor topography as a basal surface. Results were validated by comparing volume measurements derived from traditional aerophotogrammetric surveys run by the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory. Our new "quick and cheap" technique yields estimates of eruptive volume consistently within 5% of the volumes estimated with traditional surveys. The end result of this project is a new technique that provides an inexpensive, rapid assessment tool for tracking lava dome growth or other topographic changes at restless volcanoes.
AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2007
- 8419 Volcano monitoring (7280);
- 8494 Instruments and techniques