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Thermal photogrammetric imaging: A new technique for monitoring dome eruptions


Structure-from-motion (SfM) algorithms greatly facilitate the generation of 3-D topographic models from photographs and can form a valuable component of hazard monitoring at active volcanic domes. However, model generation from visible imagery can be prevented due to poor lighting conditions or surface obscuration by degassing. Here, we show that thermal images can be used in a SfM workflow to mitigate these issues and provide more continuous time-series data than visible-light equivalents. We demonstrate our methodology by producing georeferenced photogrammetric models from 30 near-monthly overflights of the lava dome that formed at Volcán de Colima (Mexico) between 2013 and 2015. Comparison of thermal models with equivalents generated from visible-light photographs from a consumer digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera suggests that, despite being less detailed than their DSLR counterparts, the thermal models are more than adequate reconstructions of dome geometry, giving volume estimates within 10% of those derived using the DSLR.