Exploration and monitoring geothermal activity using Landsat ETM+images. A case study at Aso volcanic area in Japan.

Md Bodruddoza Mia, Jun Nishijima, Yasuhiro Fujimitsu

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37 Citations (Scopus)


Thermal activity monitoring in and around active volcanic areas using remote sensing is an essential part of volcanology nowadays. Three identical approaches were used for thermal activity exploration at Aso volcanic area in Japan using Landsat ETM+images. First, the conventional methods for hydrothermal alteration mapping were applied to find the most active thermal region after exploring geothermal indicator minerals. Second, we found some thermally highly anomalous regions around Nakadake crater using land surface temperature estimation. Then, the Stefan-Boltzmann equation was used for estimating and also monitoring radiative heat flux (RHF) from the most active region of about 8km2 in and around Nakadake crater in the central part of the Aso volcano. To fulfill the required parameter in the Stefan-Boltzmann equation for radiative heat flux, the NDVI (Normalized differential vegetation index) method was used for spectral emissivity, and the mono-window algorithm was used for land surface temperature of this study area. The NDVI value was used to divide land-cover in the study area into four types: water, bare ground, mixed and vegetated land. The bare land was found within the most active region. Vegetation coverage area showed an inverse relationship with total RHF in this study as health of thermally stressed vegetation supports this relationship. The spatial distribution of spectral emissivity ranged from 0.94 to 0.99 in our study. Land surface temperature was estimated using a mono-window algorithm and was highest LST in 2008 and lowest in 2011. The results of RHF showed that the highest pixel RHF was found to be about 296W/m2 in 2008. Total RHF was obtained of about 607MW in 2002 and the lowest was about 354MW in 2008. The RHF anomaly area was found the highest in 2002 and was lowest in 2011. The highest total heat discharge rate (HDR) obtained about 3918MW in 2002 and lowest total HDR about 2289MW in 2008 from this study area. But in the case of Nakadake crater alone, the higher thermal activity was observed in 2008 and was less in 2004. The study showed that Landsat thermal infrared is the best option for thermal activity exploration and monitoring at Aso volcano as well as in any active volcano region considering high efficiency and low cost.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-21
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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