NSF Workshop on Volcanology Research Tool

The following message is copied from an E mail message circulated by Philip Handel to Tony Glaser's Montserrat E-Mail forum.
"MVO" stands for "Montserrat Volcano Observatory"

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 1997 15:12:59 -0600 (CST)
From: Philip Handel 
Subject:      COSPEC Conference

I received this last week from the US National Science Foundation and I
thought it might be of interest to the group since COSPEC measurements
are mentioned in many MVO reports.

Media contact:                                     March 27, 1997
Cheryl Dybas                                         NSF PR 97-26
(703) 306-1070/

Program contact:
Dan Weill
(703) 306-1558/


     Volcano expert Stanley Williams of Arizona State University
in Tempe barely survived an eruption that killed several of his
colleagues while taking gas samples on the side of a Colombian
volcano named Galeras.

     That was four years ago.  Since then, Williams has been
working on instruments that monitor changes in a volcano's gas
output.  These changes could forecast a major eruption -- from a
safer distance.  One of the instruments, a device called COSPEC,
is designed to be set up on a volcano's flank to measure how much
sulfur dioxide gas is spewing out of its caldera.  "COSPEC is
driven or flown around the perimeter of a volcano," explains
Williams, "or set up at some safe distant point."

     The instrument measures the absorption of solar ultraviolet
radiation by certain gases in a volcanic plume, thereby providing
volcanologists with an early warning.  As the amount of sulfur
dioxide in the plume increases, an eruption becomes more likely.
COSPEC recently provided a life-saving warning of the eruption of
Mount Pinatubo, and helped scientists pinpoint when the Rabaul
volcanic eruption was coming to an end.

     With funding from the National Science Foundation, Williams
has convened a workshop -- to take place at Arizona State from
April 12 through 19 -- that will bring together virtually all
scientists in the world who now use COSPEC to monitor volcanoes.
Some 25 volcanologists from 14 countries will attend.

     Participants in the upcoming workshop will work on
calibrating the 19 instruments currently in use so that all
COSPECs are comparable in their optics and electronics, as well
as standardized in the method of their use.  Scientists want data
from the instruments to be consistent from one volcano
observatory to another.  The group's "test volcano" is a nearby
coal-fired power plant, which emits sulfur dioxide.

     Participants will spend the first three days of the workshop
in the lab, then three more in the field.  The scientists will
bring complete COSPEC arrays with them, and will discuss such
questions as to how best to monitor ash in a volcanic plume, how
to determine wind velocity in the area of an erupting volcano and
how to incorporate use of GPS instrumentation in their research.

     Says Williams, who is also working on a remote-access
instrument named GASPEC that measures carbon dioxide gas in a
volcanic plume, "We might not be able to stop an eruption, but
through use of instruments like COSPEC and GASPEC, we can help
people survive it."


Editors:  Journalists are welcome to attend the NSF COSPEC workshop.

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| A. Philip Handel                    "We're all here because we're   |
| Drexel University                           not all there"          |
| Philadelphia, PA USA 19104                                          |
|         The Montserrat Volcanoheads    |

. . . The Electronic Evergreen, courtesy of GEM Radio Network

first version: October 13, 1997; file:/~ehem/COSPEC.html;

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