Using UAS with Sniffer4D payload to document volcanic gas emissions for volcanic surveillance

Main Article Content

Ian Godfrey
José Pablo Sibaja Brenes
Maria Martínez Cruz
Khadija Meghraoui


A consistent volcanic monitoring program is crucial to the safety of the population and the efficiency of the nation. Costa Rica´s National Commission for Risk Prevention the CNE helps manage this responsibility. The National Observatory for Volcanoes OVSCORI-UNA and the Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratory LAQAT-UNA of Universidad Nacional Costa Rica through a joint cooperation both have a strategic interest in monitoring and tracking volcanic activity. One aspect of monitoring volcanoes is tracking the active emissions being released from the craters, subaerial and subaqueous fumaroles, and diffuse degassing through soil and cracks. For this study the Sniffer4D gas detection payload was deployed on an UAS and flown directly into the active West Crater of the Turrialba volcano in 2022 for readings of active emissions. The Turrialba volcano is located 40 km or 25 miles East of San José the Capital city of Costa Rica where the majority of the population live. Between 2016-2017 an eruption column emerged 4,000 meters or 13,123 feet above the summit crater of the Turrialba volcano and dispersed ash in the capital resulting in airport closures. Thus, monitoring the Turrialba volcano is of great importance to the country. The UAS system deployed carried the Sniffer4D which tested for Temperature, Humidity and 9 additional parameters - Sulfur Dioxide SO2 (μg/ m3), Volatile Organic Compounds VOCs (ppm), Carbon Monoxide CO (mg/m3), Carbon Dioxide CO2 (%), Ozone O3 (μg/ m3), Nitrogen Dioxide NO2 (μg/ m3), O3+NO2 and Particulate Matter - PM 1.0, 2.5 & 10. The main objective was to characterize the volcanic plume of Turrialba for all of these parameters to establish a baseline that can be built upon in the future through additional measurements to determine changes in outgassing regime of the volcano. This was the first time the Turrialba volcano has been tested for these parameters.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Godfrey, I. ., Brenes , J. P. S. ., Cruz , M. M. ., & Meghraoui, K. . (2022). Using UAS with Sniffer4D payload to document volcanic gas emissions for volcanic surveillance. Advanced UAV, 2(2), 86–99. Retrieved from


Platt, U., Bobrowski, N., & Butz, A. (2018). Ground-based remote sensing and imaging of volcanic gases and quantitative determination of multi-species emission fluxes. Geosciences, 8(2), 44.

Epiard, M., Avard, G., De Moor, J. M., Martinez Cruz, M., Barrantes Castillo, G., & Bakkar, H. (2017). Relationship between diffuse CO2 degassing and volcanic activity. Case study of the Poás, Irazú, and Turrialba Volcanoes, Costa Rica. Frontiers in Earth Science, 5, 71.

Xi, X., Johnson, M. S., Jeong, S., Fladeland, M., Pieri, D., Diaz, J. A., & Bland, G. L. (2016). Constraining the sulfur dioxide degassing flux from Turrialba volcano, Costa Rica using unmanned aerial system measurements. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 325, 110-118.

Mori, T., Hashimoto, T., Terada, A., Yoshimoto, M., Kazahaya, R., Shinohara, H., & Tanaka, R. (2016). Volcanic plume measurements using a UAV for the 2014 Mt. Ontake eruption. Earth, Planets and Space, 68(1), 1-18.

Harvey, M. C., Rowland, J. V., & Luketina, K. M. (2016). Drone with thermal infrared camera provides high resolution georeferenced imagery of the Waikite geothermal area, New Zealand. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 325, 61-69.

Stix, J., de Moor, J. M., Rüdiger, J., Alan, A., Corrales, E., D'Arcy, F., ... & Liotta, M. (2018). Using drones and miniaturized instrumentation to study degassing at Turrialba and Masaya volcanoes, Central America. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 123(8), 6501-6520.

Pershin, S. M., Sobisevich, A. L., Grishin, M. Y., Gravirov, V. V., Zavozin, V. A., Kuzminov, V. V., ... & Fedorov, A. N. (2020). Volcanic activity monitoring by unique LIDAR based on a diode laser. Laser Physics Letters, 17(11), 115607.

Kern, C., Aiuppa, A., & de Moor, J. M. (2022). A golden era for volcanic gas geochemistry?. Bulletin of Volcanology, 84(5), 1-11.


Montanaro, C., Mick, E., Salas-Navarro, J., Caudron, C., Cronin, S. J., de Moor, J. M., ... & Strehlow, K. (2022). Phreatic and Hydrothermal Eruptions: From Overlooked to Looking Over. Bulletin of Volcanology, 84(6), 1-16.

Most read articles by the same author(s)