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Mass and heat flux balance of La Soufrière volcano (Guadeloupe) from aerial infrared thermal imaging

Abstract : La Soufrière of Guadeloupe is an active volcano of Lesser Antilles that is closely monitored due to a high eruptive hazard potential. Since 1992 it exhibits a medium-level but sustained background hydrothermal activity with low-energy and shallow seismicity, hot springs temperature increase and high flux acidic gas fumaroles at the summit. The problem of estimating the heat balance and quantifying the evolution of hydrothermal activity has become a key challenge for surveillance. This work is the first attempt of a global mapping and quantification of La Soufrière thermal activity performed in February 2010 using aerial thermal infrared imagery. After instrument calibration and data processing, we present a global map of thermal anomalies allowing to spot the main active sites: the summit area (including the fumaroles of Tarissan Pit and South Crater), the Ty Fault fumarolic zone, and the hot springs located at the vicinity of the dome. In a second step, we deduce the mass and the energy fluxes released by the volcano. In particular, we propose a simple model of energy balance to estimate the mass flux of the summit fumaroles from their brightness temperature and size. In February 2010, Tarissan Pit had a 22.8 ± 8.1 kg s -1 flux (1970 ± 704 tons day -1), while South Crater vents had a total of 19.5 ± 4.0 kg s -1 (1687 ± 348 tons day -1). Once converted into energy flux, summit fumaroles represent 98% of the 106 ± 30 MW released by the volcano, the 2% remaining being split between the hot springs and the thermal anomalies at the summit and at the Ty Fault fumarolic zone. These values are in the high range of the previous estimations, highlighting the short-term variability of the expelled fluxes. Such a heat flux requires the cooling of 1500 m 3 of magma per day, in good agreement with previous geochemical studies.
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Submitted on : Sunday, February 20, 2022 - 11:44:55 AM
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Damien Gaudin, François Beauducel, Olivier Coutant, Christophe Delacourt, Patrick Richon, et al.. Mass and heat flux balance of La Soufrière volcano (Guadeloupe) from aerial infrared thermal imaging. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 2016, 320, pp.107-116. ⟨10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2016.04.007⟩. ⟨insu-03581655⟩

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