LavaFlow Mapper and FRP statistical analysis

By Juan Camilo Anzieta, Francisco Javier Vasconez1

1. Geophysical Instituto of Escuela Politencica Nacional

Mapping active lava flows in near-real time by using the FIRMS thermal data and filters in the track GSD and Fire Radiative Power (FRP) in the open source R software.

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Monitoring the evolution of lava flows is a challenging task for volcano observatories, especially in remote volcanic areas. Here we present a near real-time (every 12 h) and free tool for producing interactive thermal maps of the advance of lava flows over time by taking advantage of the free thermal data provided by FIRMS and the open-source R software. To achieve this, we applied two filters on the FIRMS datasets, one on the satellite layout (track) and another on the fire radiative power (FRP). To determine the latter, we carried out a detailed statistical analysis of the FRP values of nine hotspot subaerial eruptions that included Cumbre Vieja-2021 (Spain), Fagradalsfjall-2021 (Iceland), LERZ Kilauea-2018 (USA), and six eruptions on the Galápagos Archipelago (Ecuador). We found that an FRP filter of 35 ± 17 MW/pixel worked well at the onset and during the first weeks of an eruption. Afterward, once the cumulative statistical parameters had stabilized, a filter that better fit the investigated case could be obtained by running our statistical code. Using the suggested filters, the thermal maps resulting from our mapping code have an accuracy higher than 75% on average when compared with the official lava flow maps of each eruption and an offset of only 3% regarding the maximum lava flow extension. Therefore, our easy-to-use codes constitute an additional, novel, and simple tool for rapid preliminary mapping of lava fields during crises, especially when regular overflights and/or unoccupied aerial vehicle campaigns are out of budget.


Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Vasconez, F.J.; Anzieta, J.C.; Vásconez Müller, A.; Bernard, B.; Ramón, P. A Near Real-Time and Free Tool for the Preliminary Mapping of Active Lava Flows during Volcanic Crises: The Case of Hotspot Subaerial Eruptions. Remote Sens. 2022, 14, 3483.
  • Juan Camilo Anzieta; Francisco Javier Vasconez (2022), "LavaFlow Mapper and FRP statistical analysis,"