Open Access

Precise remote-monitoring technique of water volume and temperature of a crater lake in Aso volcano, Japan: implications for a sensitive window of a volcanic hydrothermal system

Earth, Planets and Space200860:BF03353134

Received: 26 November 2007

Accepted: 8 February 2008

Published: 4 July 2008


A high-resolution Digital Surface Model and a commercial digital camera have enabled precise and continuous monitoring of the crater lake at Aso volcano. From July 2006 onwards, infrared (IR) thermometry has been used with this system, enabling more accurate measurements of lake volume and temperature based on simple and intensive observations than has been possible in any other previous studies. The heat discharge remained largely constant at approximately 220 MW, with the exception of an abrupt increase to 280 MW that coincided with a rapid decrease in the water level in August 2007. Simultaneously, an increase in temperature at a shallow depth was suggested by other observations. The crater lake was found to respond to even slight changes in volcanic fluid supply, which can be well quantified by our method. Thus, a crater lake can be monitored more precisely than subaerial fumaroles whose energy estimation is often accompanied by large uncertainties. Our monitoring technique of a crater lake provides information on the subsurface hydrothermal system beneath it, for which any in-situ measurements are practically impossible.

Key words

Crater lake hydrothermal system digital surface model digital camera Aso volcano