Gateway for:

Member Countries

Volcanic Eruptions and Aviation


Development of New Satellite Methods for Monitoring of Volcanic Activity to Avoid the Hazardous Effects of Volcanic Ash on Jet Aircraft Flights over the North Pacific

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-SEM/Seismic Monitoring/Environment
  • OBS-NAT/Natural Resources and Earth Sciences/Other Basic Sciences

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
IZMIRAN, Russia, Moscow reg., Troitsk

Supporting institutes

  • Design Bureau "Polet", Russia, Omsk reg., Omsk-21\nInternational Agency on Complex Monitoring of the Earth, Natural Disasters and Technogenic Catastrophes, Russia, Moscow


  • NorthWest Research Associates, Inc., USA, CA, Marina\nStanford University / Department of Engineering, USA, CA, Stanford\nUniversity of Electro-Communications, Japan, Tokyo

Project summary

29 active volcanoes at the Kamchatka peninsula annually produce 3 to 4 explosive type eruptions that inject huge number of small solid particles into the atmosphere. The solid particles are volcanic ash that reaches the altitudes of 15+ km and spread over the distance of several thousand km from their source filling the air space over the North Pacific. This area is a junction of several international air-routes between the USA and Asian countries serving more than 15000 passengers and carrying cargo worth millions of dollars fly over this region every day. Volcanic ash is extremely hazardous to flying jet aircraft. As volcanic ash are extremely hazardous for modern jets because of possible engine destruction resulting from abrasive fines, the fines’ melting at high-temperature turbine vanes and subsequent settling on the engine elements, the problem of early detection of volcanic eruption with rapid alarm of the for air traffic control and flight safety authorities is extremely important.

Currently rapid activity monitoring and warning of Kamchatka volcanic eruptions is successfully performed by KVERT (Kamchatkan Volcanic Eruption Response Team) created in 1993 by joint efforts of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology of the Far-Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Geophysical Service of the Russian Academy of Sciences in close cooperation with Alaska Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, University of Alaska Fairbank Geophysical Institute and Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys as well as a number of other institutions.

Since the North Pacific area’s aviation traffic is steadily increasing, the risks of aviation catastrophes resulting from flights through ash clouds of the Kamchatka volcanoes significantly increase. This factor requires further development of the current visual and seismic methods for monitoring volcano activity applied by KVERT and the development of new methods and tools for early eruption forecasting, based on observation of other (non-seismic) phenomena evolving in the active zone.

The project proposed is aimed at the development and practical implementation of new methods for monitoring of volcanic activity and forecasting of powerful eruptions using devices for plasma-wave and IR observations onboard the low orbiting micro-satellite. Within the project theoretical research of electrodynamic and chemical and physical processes in the global system “lithosphere-atmosphere-ionosphere” using satellite data is planned. Geophysical processes linked to the volcanic pre-eruption activities in the intensive air-traffic area will be studied.

The action plan of the project foresees the manufacture and piggy-back launch of the micro-satellite with the mission bus for direct measurements of some ionospheric disturbances over the volcanoes as well as remote measurements of the active area thermal fields and humidity. The satellite observations of a broad range of parameters sensitive to volcanic activity increase to be performed within the project are supposed to ensure the development of practicable methods for early forecast of strong volcanic eruptions and assure timely (in 1-7 days’ advance) warning of the relevant air-traffic control authorities in Russia, the USA, Japan, Korea, Canada and other countries concerned.

The work will make use of the significant experience of the coordinated ground-based and satellite observations in the Kamchatka volcano area obtained by the participants of this project during the implementation of the current ISTC Project #2990 “Complex Ground- Based Geophysical Observations Coordinated with Satellite DEMETER Research”.

The specialists of the Pushkov Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation, Russian Academy of Sciences and GEOSCAN International Agency for many years have been using satellite data to investigate the influence of seismic and meteorological processes on the ionosphere. They have a wide experience in the theoretical research of ionosphere electrodynamics and in the processing and analyzing of the satellite data. The specialists of KB POLYOT have a unique experience in the development and fabrication of spacecraft and the space experiment implementation.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

Promotional Material

Значимы проект

See ISTC's new Promotional video view