Scientists from the Finnish company Iceye used a constellation of satellites to track in detail the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Fagradalsfjall. They were able to notice processes that cannot be seen from the surface of the planet.
The researchers used the largest of the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) constellations. These are 14 spacecraft that fly around the globe. Scientists used their function to return to the same location, which allowed them to view the mouth of the volcano from the same height and angle.
This makes the satellite train imagery “connected”. They can be compared to catch the slightest changes in any area. They used this feature to study the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Fagradalsfjall.
Researchers note that many have already watched volcanic eruptions (even live), but Iceye gives you the opportunity to look at Fagradalsfjall from above and trace how the molten rock spreads from the vent. In the video, you can also see other objects that form along the clear line of cracks.
Some great capability on display from @iceyefi this morning. The European company is now operating sufficient radar satellites in orbit (14) to run a tightly controlled daily ground-track repeat across target scenes, eg #Fagradalsfjall #volcano. https://t.co/ON1fpDusR0 #SAR pic.twitter.com/sYGAXNEO2v
— Jonathan Amos (@BBCAmos) July 7, 2021
“What we do is called the daily ground track repeat,” explained Iceye CEO Rafal Modrzewski. – To do this, you need to adjust the orbit of the satellite so that it does not cover the entire Earth. So it will cover only one-sixth of the world. ”
Also in the company’s data, you can see the Fagradalsfjall interferogram. It is compiled by comparing two precisely aligned images from different flights over the same location.
Scientists can use the colored borders to determine where and how much the land under the satellite has moved. This method is especially useful in volcanology for tracking convex underground magma chambers, or in earthquake studies to track faults that are not always visible on the surface during strong tremors.