Measurement of three dimensional volcanic plume properties using multiple ground based infrared cameras

Kieran Wood, Helen Thomas, Matthew Watson, Andrew Calway, Tom Richardson, Kerstin Stebel, Ailsa Naismith, Lucy Berthoud, Josh Lucas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study presents a method and a proof of principle system for the direct measurement of volcanic plume 3-D spatial properties. The shape of a plume is reconstructed in three dimensions using multi-view imagery collected from static ground-based cameras. The method was developed using data collected during an expedition to Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala, where four thermal infrared cameras were deployed to capture simultaneous images of the regular ash-rich eruptions. A space carving method was applied to the problem to estimate the volume of the plume at any moment in time. By successively applying the method to sequential sets of images, other quantitative measurements such as the drift direction, ascent rate, and dispersion rate can be deduced. The complete method work-flow is presented including data capture, calibration processes, image processing, the space-carving method, and practical implementation issues. The method is sensitive to the camera alignment, hence a novel technique for estimating the camera orientation angles, making use if a high-accuracy terrain model, is described. Other sources of error relating to the number, synchronisation and resolution of the cameras are also discussed. Preliminary results are presented using data collected at Volcán de Fuego in November 2017 over a period of 1.25 h including three distinct eruptions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-175
Number of pages13
JournalISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • 3D reconstruction
  • VolcanoPlume
  • Computer vision
  • Space carving
  • Thermal
  • Volcano
  • Plume


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