Lava Lake Thermal Pattern Classification Using Self-Organizing Maps and Relationships to Eruption Processes at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaii

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Amy M Burzynski1, Steven W Anderson2, Katherine Morrison1, Adam L LeWinter1,3, Matthew R Patrick4, Tim R Orr4 and David C Finnegan3, (1)University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO, United States, (2)University of Northern Colorado, Washington, DC, United States, (3)U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, NH, United States, (4)Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, USGS, Hawaii National Park, HI, United States
Nested within the Halema’uma’u Crater on the summit of Kīlauea Volcano, the active lava lake of Overlook Crater poses hazards to local residents and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park visitors. Since its formation in March 2008, the lava lake has enlarged to +28,500 m2 and has been closely monitored by researchers at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO). Time-lapse images, collected via visible and thermal infrared cameras, reveal thin crustal plates, separated by incandescent cracks, moving across the lake surface as lava circulates beneath. We hypothesize that changes in size, shape, velocity, and patterns of these crustal plates are related to other eruption processes at the volcano. Here we present a methodology to identify characteristic lava lake surface patterns from thermal infrared video footage using a self-organizing maps (SOM) algorithm. The SOM is an artificial neural network that performs unsupervised clustering and enables us to visualize the relationships between groups of input patterns on a 2-dimensional grid. In a preliminary trial, we input ~4 hours of thermal infrared time-lapse imagery collected on December 16-17, 2013 during a transient deflation-inflation deformation event at a rate of one frame every 10 seconds. During that same time period, we also acquired a series of one-second terrestrial laser scans (TLS) every 30 seconds to provide detailed topography of the lava lake surface. We identified clusters of characteristic thermal patterns using a self-organizing maps algorithm within the Matlab SOM Toolbox. Initial results from two SOMs, one large map (81 nodes) and one small map (9 nodes), indicate 4-6 distinct groups of thermal patterns. We compare these surface patterns with lava lake surface slope and crustal plate velocities derived from concurrent TLS surveys and with time series of other eruption variables, including outgassing rates and inflation-deflation events. This methodology may be applied to the continuous stream of thermal video footage at Kīlauea to expand the breadth of eruption information we are able to obtain from a remote thermal infrared camera and may potentially allow for the recognition of lava lake patterns as a proxy for other eruption parameters.