Estimating eruption temperature from thermal emission spectra of lava fountain activity in the Erta'Ale (Ethiopia) volcano lava lake: Implications for observing Io's volcanoes

Ashley Gerard Davies, Laszlo Keszthelyi, Alfred S. McEwen

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17 Scopus citations


We have analysed high-spatial-resolution and high-temporal-resolution temperature measurements of the active lava lake at Erta'Ale volcano, Ethiopia, to derive requirements for measuring eruption temperatures at Io's volcanoes. Lava lakes are particularly attractive targets because they are persistent in activity and large, often with ongoing lava fountain activity that exposes lava at near-eruption temperature. Using infrared thermography, we find that extracting useful temperature estimates from remote-sensing data requires (a) high spatial resolution to isolate lava fountains from adjacent cooler lava and (b) rapid acquisition of multi-color data. Because existing spacecraft data of Io's volcanoes do not meet these criteria, it is particularly important to design future instruments so that they will be able to collect such data. Near-simultaneous data at more than two relatively short wavelengths (shorter than 1 μm) are needed to constrain eruption temperatures. Resolving parts of the lava lake or fountains that are near the eruption temperature is also essential, and we provide a rough estimate of the required image scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL21308
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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