The American Geophysical Union notes that the goal of scientists engaged in volcanology lies in “studying and mitigating the hazards of volcanoes; this work has a direct bearing on public safety and the preservation of life.” One of the top groups in the world is the Istituto Nazionale di Geophysica e Volcanologia
INGV scientists are actively pursuing research projects in various aspects of volcanism and related magnetic responses. These include thermomagnetic, piezomagnetic and kinematic studies using a network of GEM magnetometers and gradiometers.
This area of study is complex since volcanoes are large systems; however, the group has published some advanced research papers using magnetic data acquired at sites such as Mt. Etna.
Ultimately, the long-term goal is to determine ways in which to use magnetic data as predictors of eruptions; thereby, avoiding the types of disruptions to the human populace such as those that characterized the winter 2002 eruptions of Mt. Etna.
Earthquakes are another area of geohazard research. GEM instruments are being used in this area by a group of Israeli researchers. Researchers have installed one of the world’s most sensitive gradiometers (i.e. SuperGrad) in the vicinity of the active Dead Sea fault. The SuperGrad is acquiring huge volumes of data recording on a continuous basis for subsequent analysis and potentially, prediction of potentially damaging earthquakes in the region.
Research professionals working in volcanology may want to select technologies similar to the ones utilized by INGV in their pioneering work in Italy. These include the EUROMAG – an advanced fast-cycling Overhauser system with excellent long-term monitoring characteristics for both stationary and portable applications.
In addition, stationary systems, such as the EUROMAG, can be complemented by the mobile systems such as the GEM GSM 19 Overhauser system.
For earthquake hazard work, the recommended instrument is the SuperGrad, a 3-axis system that is the most sensitive gradiometer on the market with 0.05 pT rms noise at 1 reading per second.
The following lists selected case histories both from GEM and from independent sources. Non-GEM studies are intended to show methods and results related to magnetic methods in volcanology.
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