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Authors: Lombardo, Valerio 
Title: Influence of pre-existing topography on downflow lava discharge rates estimated from thermal infrared airborne data
Issue Date: 2016
Series/Report no.: /205 (2016)
DOI: 10.1093/gji/ggv557
Keywords: Effusion rate
Thermal flux
Eruption mechanisms
Flow emplacement
Thermal Remote Sensing
Subject Classification04.08. Volcanology 
Abstract: Remote sensing thermal data of active lava flows allow the evaluation of effusion rates. This is made possible by a simple formula relating the lava effusion rate to the heat flux radiated per unit time from the surface of the flow. Due to the assumptions of the model, this formula implies that heat flux, surface temperature and lava temperature vary as a function of the flow thickness. These relationships, never verified or validated before, have been used by several authors as a proof of the weakness of the model. Here, multispectral infrared and visible imaging spectrometer (MIVIS) high spatial resolution (5–10 m) thermal data acquired during Etna’s 2001 eruption were used to investigate downflow heat flux variations in the lava flow emitted from a vent located at 2100 m a.s.l. A high correlation between the downflow heat flux and the lava flow thickness (measured from a pre-existing digital elevation model) was found. Topography beneath the flow appears to play an important role both in lava emplacement mechanisms and flow dynamics. MIVIS-derived downflow effusion rates are consistent with the law of conservation of mass assessing the reliability of remote sensing techniques.
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