GEYSER DEFORMATION

I am interested in the use of airborne and ground-based LiDAR for volcanology studies. I worked on a small project looking at inflation-deflation cycles at Lone Star geyser in Yellowstone National Park. Ground-based LiDAR scans were captured every 20 minutes from a fixed point overlooking the outwash plain.

×
LiDAR point cloud of Lone Star geyser. Note the geyser mound at the right and the laser 'shadow' behind it.

×
Sinter cone of Lone Star Geyser (Attribution: Daniel Schwen [CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikipedia]).

The hope was that differences between successive scans would reveal ground deformation as the geyser system filled over its 3-hour eruption cycle. Unfortunately movement of the scanner mostly cancelled out a very small deformation signal. Nevertheless this was an exciting study that shows how precise LiDAR scanning has become!