On Monday 22nd January 2018, the School of Geography welcomed Guest Lecturer, Dr Andrew McGonigle of the University of Sheffield, to deliver a seminar to students. 

Would you ever think your selfie device could be the next breakthrough in volcanic research? Dr McGonigle, Reader in Volcano Remote Sensing at the University of Sheffield, has developed the detection of UV light though the use of remote sensing using a smart phone device.

Dr Andrew McGonigle, University of Sheffield

Although this doesn’t sound like the most high-tech solution, it functions just as well as equipment valued at thousands of pounds, and could make for some interesting selfies!

In general, these technologies can be used to monitor the activity of all types of volcanoes across the world using ultraviolet cameras. This data have been used to unravel, for the first time from the perspective of gas flux data, the short-term dynamics of gas transport through magma and passive discharge to the atmosphere in a basaltic volcanic system.

Dr McGonigle’s technology will allows scientists to reach precarious locations, keeping them safe

These devices are now more widely used as they are easy to transport to remote areas and they are more disposable due to their low cost. When connected to drones they can fly below the volcanic plumes and detect wavelengths, so they do the precarious work, allowing scientists to stand at a safe distance.

The technology usage is now stretching beyond volcanoes and is being used in the research of the effects of the albedo effect on glaciers in places like Greenland.

You can find out more online.

Blog written by School of Geography students: Alisha Baskcomb, April Bentley, Owen Davies, Matt Godfrey, Alexandra Lilley, Michaela Loria and Jonathan Phillips