According tomedia New Atlas, the living crater is a place where people generally don’t want to be close — even if they are specialized volcanologists. With this in mind, German scientists have recently successfully done this with drones. Led by PhD student Edgar Zorn, a team from the German Centre for Geoscience Stoscience first equipped a Grand Slam Phantom 4 Pro quadcopter with flIR TAU 2 thermal imaging cameras. They then repeatedly maneuvered drones over Guatemala’s Santa Maria volcano.
The drone’s on-board 4K optical camera lens is digitally combined with the FLIR camera’s lens to form stereoscopic video that displays vision and thermal imaging. When the computer then analyzes these recordings, it can create a three-dimensional model of the volcano with a centimeter of accuracy.
The model contains information that cannot be collected from the ground, including the flow pattern and velocity of lava and the temperature of the volcano’s surface. This data is important in determining whether a major eruption is imminent.
“We have shown that the use of drones can help completely re-measure the most dangerous and active volcanoes on Earth from a safe distance,” Zorn said. “
A paper on the study was recently published in the journal Scientific Reports.