Volcano Monitoring

The Volcanology Group at University of Liverpool are involved in fieldwork and active monitoring at many volcanoes Worldwide. This is aided by an array of geophysical monitoring equipment detailed below.


Monitoring the Holuhraun eruption at Bardarbunga volcano during the active lava flow in September 2014. 


  • 6 x Broadband (120 second) Seismometers - Nanometrics, Trillium Compact 120, see Manufacturer’s Website
  • 3 x High-resolution (0.1 µradian) tiltmeters - Jewell Instruments, 701-2
  • 8 x Broadband (0.01-100 Hz) Infrasound microphones:
    • 2x Hyperion, IFS 5000, see Manufacturer’s Website
    • 6 x ITEM, PRS100, see Manufacturer’s Website
  • 10 x 24-bit, 6 channel Digitizers - Earth Data, EDR210, see Manufacturer’s Website
  • FLIR T450sc BB R&D Thermographic Camera:
    • Resolution 320x256 pixels
    • Frame rate: 125 to ~4200 Hz
    • Lenses: 20mm and 76mm (25° and 6°)
    • Pixel size: ~100 microns
    • Calibrated <1500 °C
    • Accuracy: +/- 1 °C
  • A range of cameras.
  • Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
  • Portable Permeameter from TinyPerm:
    • Permeability range: 10-3 to 101 Darcy
  • Quadcopter - DJI Phantom 2 with H3-2D Gimbal and GoPro Hero 3+, fitted with first person view (FPV) and ground control data link and monitor. Applications:
    • Structure from Motion (SfM) 3D reconstruction of aerial images (via Agisoft Photoscan)
    • Video monitoring of dangerous or inaccessible field areas
    • Reconnaissance aerial photography at field sites
  • A range of other equipment is available through the University’s Central Teaching Hub, including additional Portable Permeameters and field based LiDAR.

Field Locations

Research is being conducted by the Volcanology Group at the following field locations:


Structural mapping of the magma spine erupted during the 1991-95 eruption at Mount Unzenin 2013.

Bardarbunga, Iceland

  • Geomechanical rock properties

Ceboruco, Mexico

  • Dyke emplacement
  • Mechanical structures in lava domes
  • Structural control on magma extrusion

Volcán de Colima, Mexico

  • Active monitoring
  • Rheology of dome lava
  • Conditions driving explosive eruptions
  • Tuffisites

Cotopaxi, Ecuador

  • Shallow conduit structures of Morurco

Glencoe, Scotland

  • Super-faults dynamics during caldera collapse

Isle of Skye, Scotland

  • Preservation of magma flow features in dykes and sills
  • Rock magnetism of volcanic plumbing systems

Krafla, Iceland

  • Rock permeability
  • Geothermal Energy

Las Torres del Paine and the Illapel Complex, Chile

  • Magma chamber development, structural and petrographic evidence

Mount Etna, Italy

  • Rock mechanics, large scale faulting, sector collapse and run-out

Mount St. Helens, USA

  • Magma rheology
  • Spine extrusion dynamics

Isle of Mull, Scotland

  • Preservation of magma flow features in dykes and sills
  • Rock magnetism of volcanic plumbing systems

Pacaya, Guatemala

  • Rock mechanical properties
  • Sector collapse modelling

Soufrière Hills, Montserrat

  • Frictional melting
  • Permeability of magmatic plugs

Santiaguito, Guatemala

  • Active monitoring
  • Dynamic slip during dome inflation/deflation cycles associated with gas-and-ash explosions
  • Tuffisites

Tarawera, New Zealand

  • Porosity/permeability changes that accompany shifts from explosive eruptions to dome formation

Tungurahua, Ecuador

  • Rheological transition causing shifts from explosive to effusive activity

Unzen, Japan

  • Permeability development in shear zones
  • Spine extrusion dynamics
  • Crystal-plasticity during magma ascent

The San Rafael Sub-volcanic Complex, Utah, USA

  • Host-rock deformation during magma intrusion
  • Preservation of intrusive magma flow features
  • Mapping igneous intrusive structures using high precision laser scanning

The Newer Volcanics Province, Australia

  • Intraplate monogenetic volcanism, volcanic successions
  • The structural controls on Volcanic fissure eruptions, the Mount Eccles Volcanic Complex

Key Contacts

For seismic/ infrasound equipment:

Prof. Andreas Rietbrock, Professor of Geophysics. Email Andreas

Dr. Silvio De Angelis, Lecturer in Geophysics. Email Silvio

For Quadcopter:

Prof. Yan Lavallée, Chair of Volcanology and Magmatic Processes. Email Yan

Dr. Felix von Aulock, PDRA in Experimental Volcanology. Email Felix

For all other equipment:

Prof. Yan Lavallée, Chair of Volcanology and Magmatic Processes. Email Yan

Dr. Jackie E. Kendrick, PDRA in Experimental Volcanology. Email Jackie

Research Projects

This facility is central to many research goals and topics across the volcanology group, details of which can be found in our Research Projects page.


Recent outputs can be found in the Volcanology Publications page.