Remote volcano monitoring using crowd-sourced imagery and Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry: A case study of Oldoinyo Lengai's active pit crater since the 2007–08 paroxysm

Pierre Yves Tournigand, Benoît Smets, Kate Laxton, Antoine Dille, Lydéric France, Gilles Chazot, Cristy Ho, Christelle Wauthier, Emma J. Nicholson, Charles Happe Kasanzu, Maruvuko Msechu, Matthieu Kervyn

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Active volcanic craters are highly dynamic geological features that undergo morphological changes on a broad range of spatial and temporal scales. Such changes have implications for the stability of the edifice, the eruptive style and the associated hazards. However, monitoring the morphological evolution of active craters at high spatial resolution and over long periods of time can be challenging, especially at remote volcanoes. In this study, we demonstrate the potential of Structure-from-Motion Multi-View Stereo photogrammetry technique based on crowd-sourced data, applied to the case study of Oldoinyo Lengai (OL) volcano in northern Tanzania. Following the 2007–08 paroxysm, OL volcano resumed its characteristic effusive activity and started to fill in with lava the newly-formed 300 m wide and 130 m deep pit crater. Monitoring capability is limited at OL due to its location in a remote non-urbanized area, therefore, the eruptive and morphological evolution is poorly constrained (e.g., lava emission rates, number of vents, location of unstable areas), with hazard implications for tourists visiting the summit area. Here we use crowd-sourced images, including Unoccupied Aircraft System (UAS) images, ground-based videos and pictures collected between October 2014 and June 2022, to reconstruct high-resolution topographic time-series of OL's summit crater. With these data, we have generated 7 Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) of OL's pit crater spanning the past 8 years, and estimated the emitted volume of lava and the corresponding time averaged discharge rates (TADR). From this we characterize the geomorphological evolution of OL pit crater since the 2007–08 paroxysm and perform a preliminary hazard assessment of the crater area. InSAR COSMO-SkyMed and Sentinel-1 data covering the periods 2013–2014 and 2018–2019 were also used in this study to complement our observations. Our results indicate that the main location of lava emission within the crater floor has repeatedly shifted over the years and that the 2008 cone has experienced a subsidence over time. OL's TADR has increased over the years, reaching values one order of magnitude higher in the period 2021–2022 compared to 2014–2018. Assuming similar TADR in the coming years, the crater could be filled in by lava within the next decade, leading to new lava overflows on the flanks of the volcano.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107918
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
StatePublished - Nov 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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