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Apparatus to monitor volcanic eruptions

Dispersion modelsDust measurementTephraVolcanic eruption


During a volcanic eruption it is important to evaluate rapidly the amount and grain size of erupted material, in order to initiate reliable dispersion models of volcanic ash. The invention, that addresses this request, consists into an optical barrier and a collector, used to evaluate in real time the grain size and terminal velocity of fall out particles and accumulation rate of fall out deposit.

Technical features

The instrument is designed to measure in real-time the accumulation rate, the grain size, and the terminal velocity of fall-out material ejected during volcanic eruptions. The apparatus consists into an optical barrier and a collector. The optical barrier measures grain size and terminal velocity of single particles crossing a laminar laser beam from the amplitude and duration of absorption peaks. The weight and thickness of erupted material is measured while accumulating in the removable collector. Local data processing allows minimizing data transfer in order to facilitate instrument installation in remote locations with limited connection. Fully aotomatic and real-time analysis wants to minimize response time during volcanic eruptive crises.

Possible Applications

  • Civil protection;
  • Vulcanology;
  • Air transport safety.


  • Real-time monitoring;
  • Automatic measurement of grain size and accumulation rate of erupted material;
  • Initiation of dispersion models.