Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 67, Issue 6, pp 539–556

Analysis of volcanic activity patterns using MODIS thermal alerts


    • Department of Earth SciencesThe Open University
  • Diego Coppola
    • Department of Earth SciencesThe Open University
    • Present address, Università degli Studi di TorinoDipartimento di Scienze Mineralogiche e Petrologiche
  • Charlotte Saunders
    • Department of Earth SciencesThe Open University
    • Department of BiosciencesUniversity of Hertfordshire, College Lane
Research Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00445-004-0393-3

Cite this article as:
Rothery, D., Coppola, D. & Saunders, C. Bull Volcanol (2005) 67: 539. doi:10.1007/s00445-004-0393-3


We investigate eruptive activity by analysis of thermal-alert data from the MODIS (moderate resolution imaging spectrometer) thermal infrared satellite instrument, detected by the MODVOLC (MODIS Volcano alert) algorithm. These data are openly available on the Internet, and easy to use. We show how such data can plug major gaps in the conventional monitoring record of volcanoes in an otherwise generally poorly documented region (Melanesia), including: characterising the mechanism of lava effusion at Pago; demonstrating an earlier-than-realised onset of lava effusion at Lopevi; extending the known period of lava lake activity at Ambrym; and confirming ongoing activity at Bagana, Langila and Tinakula. We also add to the record of activity even at some generally better-monitored volcanoes in Indonesia, but point out that care must be taken to recognise and exclude fires.

MODIS Remote sensing Thermal monitoring Indonesia Melanesia



Moderate-resolution imaging spectrometer


MODIS Volcano alert


Normalised thermal index

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005