Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 53, Issue 6, pp 420–435 | Cite as

Anatomy of 1986 Augustine volcano eruptions as recorded by multispectral image processing of digital AVHRR weather satellite data

  • Rick E Holaske
  • William I Rose


Eighteen digital AVHRR (advanced very high resolution radiometer) data sets from NOAA-6 and NOAA-9 polar-orbiting satellites recorded between 27 March and 7 April 1986 depict the eruptive activity of Augustine volcano, located 280 km SW of Anchorage, Alaska. The synoptic view (resolution of either 1.1 or 4.4 km), frequent coverage (often twice a day), and multispectral coverage (five bands: 0.58–0.68; 0.72–1.1; 3.55–3.93; 10.5–11.3; and 11.5–12.5 μm) makes the AVHRR broadly applicable to analyzing explosive eruption clouds. The small scale of the Augustine activity (column heights of 2–13 km and eruption rates of 2x106–8x107 metric tonnes/day) facilitated intensive multispectral study because the plumes generally covered areas within the 550x550 km area of one easily manipulated image field. Hourly ground weather data and twice-daily radiosonde measurements from stations surrounding the volcano plus numerous volcanological observations were made throughout the eruption, providing important ground truth with which to calibrate the satellite data. The total erupted volume is estimated to be at least 0.102 km3. The pattern of changing eruption rates determined by satellite observations generally correlate with more detailed estimates of explosion magnitudes. Multispectral processing techniques were used to distinguish eruption clouds from meteorological clouds. Variable weather during the Augustine eruption offered an opportunity to test various trial algorithms. A ratio between thermal IR channels four and five, served to delineate the ashbearing eruption plumes from ordinary clouds. Future work is needed to determine whether the successful multispectral discrimination is caused by wavelength-dependent variable emission of silicate ash or reflects a spectral role of sulfuric acid aerosol in the plume.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Briggs GA (1969) Plume rise, critical review series. At. Energy Comm., Washington, DC, Rep TID-25075, pp 1–81Google Scholar
  2. Briggs GA (1978) Plume rise, critical review series. In: Wilson L, Sparks RSJ, Huang TC, Watkins NK (ededs) The control of volcanic column heights by eruption energetics and dynamics. J Geophys Res 83:1829–1836Google Scholar
  3. Farmer VC (1974) The infrared spectra of minerals, London. Mineralogical Society, 539 ppGoogle Scholar
  4. Glaze LP, Francis PW, Self S, Rothery DA (1989) The 16 September 1986 eruption of lascar volcano, north Chile: satellite investigations. Bull Volcanol 51:14911–14923Google Scholar
  5. Hanstrum BN, Watson AS (1983) A case study of two eruptions of Mount Galunggung and an investigation of volcanic cloud characteristics using remote sensing techniques. Austral Meterol Mag 31:171–177Google Scholar
  6. Harris GW, Swanson SE, Nye CJ (1987) Comparative petrology and petrography of the 1976 and 1986 ejecta of Augustine volcano, Alaska. Geol Soc Am Abstr Programs 19:387Google Scholar
  7. Hovis WA, Callahan WR (1966) Infrared reflectance of igneous rocks, tuffs, and red sandstone from 0.5 to 22 microns. J Opt Soc Amer 56:639–643Google Scholar
  8. Hunt G (1980) Electromagnetic radiation: the communicating link in remote sensing. In: Siegal BS, Gillespie AR (eds) Remote sensing in geology. John Wiley, pp 5–45Google Scholar
  9. Hunt GR, Salisbury JW (1974) Mid-infrared spectral behavior of igneous rocks. Envir Res Paper 496, pp 1–142. US Air Force Cambridge Research Lab, Bedford, MassGoogle Scholar
  10. Kahle AB, Gillespie AR, Abbott EA, Abrams MJ, Walker RE, Hoover G, Lockwood JP (1988) Relative dating of Hawaiian lava flows using multispectral thermal infrared images: A new tool for geologic mapping of young volcanic terrains. J Geophys Res 93:15239–15251Google Scholar
  11. Kidwell KB (1988) NOAA Polar Orbiter Users Guide. NOAA, 146 ppGoogle Scholar
  12. Kienle J, Shaw GE (1979) Plume dynamics, thermal energy and long distance transport of vulcanian eruption clouds from Augustine volcano, Alaska. J Volcanol Geoth Res 6:139–164Google Scholar
  13. Kienle J, Swanson SE (1985) Volcanic hazards from future eruptions of Augustine volcano, Alaska. Univ of Alaska Geophysical Institute Report UAG R-275:122Google Scholar
  14. Krueger AF (1982) Geostationary satellite observations of the April 1979 Soufriere eruptions. Science 216:1108–1109Google Scholar
  15. Launer PJ (1952) Regularities in the infrared absorption spectra of silicate minerals. Amer Mineral 37:764–784Google Scholar
  16. Lazarev AN (1972) Vibrational spectra and structure of silicates. Consultant's Bureau, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. Lillesand TM, Kiefer RW (1987) Remote sensing and image interpretation. New York, John Wiley and Sons Inc, 721 pGoogle Scholar
  18. Lyon RJP (1963) Evaluation of infrared spectrophotometry for compositional analysis of lunar and planetary soils. NASA Tech Note TN D1871Google Scholar
  19. Malingreau JP, Kaswanda (1986) Monitoring volcanic eruptions in Indonesia using weather satellite data: the Colo eruption of July 28, 1983. J Volcanol Geoth Res 27:179–194Google Scholar
  20. Matson M (1984) The 1982 El Chichón volcano eruptions — a satellite perspective. J Volcanol Geoth Res 23:1–10Google Scholar
  21. Matson M (1985) Detection and tracking of volcanic ash cloud by meteorological satellite systems. AIAA 23rd Aerospace Sciences Meeting, 85-0099, 4 pGoogle Scholar
  22. Morton BR, Taylor G, Turner JS (1956) Turbulent gravitational convection from maintained and instantaneous sources. Proc Roy Soc Ser A 234:1–23Google Scholar
  23. National Research Council (1985) The effects on the atmosphere of a major nuclear exchange. National Academy Press, Washington, 193pGoogle Scholar
  24. Power J (1988) Seismicity associated with the 1986 eruption of Mt St Augustine volcano. EOS Trans AGU 69:1488Google Scholar
  25. Prata AJ (1989) Observations of volcanic ash clouds in the 10–12 μm window using AVHHR/2 data. Int J Remote Sensing 10:751–761Google Scholar
  26. Rampino MR, Self S, Stothers RB (1988) Volcanic winters. Ann Rev Earth Planet Sci 16:73–99Google Scholar
  27. Rose WI, Chesner CA (1990) Worldwide dispersal of ash and gases from earth's largest known eruption: Toba, Sumatra 75 Ka. Global Planet Change 89:269–275Google Scholar
  28. Rose WI, Heiken G, Wohletz K, Eppler D, Barr S, Miller T, Chuan RL, Symonds RB (1988) Direct rate measurements of eruption plumes at Augustine volcano: a problem of scaling and uncontrolled variables. J Geophys Res 93:4485–4499Google Scholar
  29. Rose WI, Wunderman RL, Hoffman MF, Gale L (1983) A volcanologist's review of atmospheric hazards of volcanic activity. J Volcanol Geoth Res 17:133–157Google Scholar
  30. Sabins FS, Jr (1986) Remote sensing principles and interpretation. W. H. Freeman and Co, New York, 449 pGoogle Scholar
  31. Saksena BD (1961) Infra-red absorption studies of some silicate structures. Trans Faraday Soc 57:242–255Google Scholar
  32. Sawada Y (1983) Analysis of eruption clouds by the 1981 eruptions of Alaid and Pagan volcanos with GMS images. Papers in Meteor Geophys 34:307–324Google Scholar
  33. Sawada Y (1985) GMS observations of eruption clouds of the 1984 September-October Mayon eruption. Philippine J Volcanol 2:143–155Google Scholar
  34. Sawada Y (1987) Study on analysis of volcanic eruptions based on eruption cloud image data obtained by the Geostationary Meteorological Satellite (GMS). Tech Rep Meteorol Res Inst (Japan) 22Google Scholar
  35. Siegal R, Howell JR (1972) Thermal radiation heat transfer. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  36. Sigurdsson RS (1982) Soufriere volcano, St Vincent: observations of its 1979 eruption from ground, aircraft, and satellites. Science 216:1105–1106Google Scholar
  37. Sparks RSJ, Wilson L (1976) A model for the formation of ignimbrite by gravitational collapse: J Geol Soc London 132:441–451Google Scholar
  38. Swanson SE, Kienle J (1988) The 1986 eruption of Mt. St. Augustine: field test of a hazard evaluation. J Geophys Res 93:4500–4520Google Scholar
  39. Walter LS, Salisbury JW (1989) Spectral characterization of igneous rocks in the 8 to 12 μm region. J Geophys Res 94:9203–9213Google Scholar
  40. Wilson L, Sparks RSJ, Huang TC, Watkins ND (1978) The control of volcanic column heights by eruption energetics and dynamics. J Geophys Res 83:1829–1836Google Scholar
  41. Yount ME, Miller TP, Gable BM (1986) The 1986 eruptions of Augustine volcano, Alaska: hazards and effects, 1987. In: Hamilton TD, Galloway JP (eds) Geologic studies in Aslaka by the US Geological Survey during 1985. USGS Circular 978:4–13Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rick E Holaske
    • 1
    • 2
  • William I Rose
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geological Engineering, Geology, and GeophysicsMichigan Technological UniversityHoughtonUSA
  2. 2.NOAA Climate Analysis CenterCamp SpringsUSA

Personalised recommendations