Volcano Watch: A cloud of ten thousand points: terrestrial laser scanning of Halema‘uma‘u

  • USGS graphic Main frame: A composite of the point clouds resulting from HVO’s terrestrial laser scanning surveys of Halemaʻumaʻu crater since January 2021, viewed from the southwest. The central region of the crater, including the lava lake, is reliably captured in all surveys. Further afield the point clouds become sparser, as the laser reflections from such distances and angles escape detection by the instrument. Inset frame: The terrestrial laser scanning instrument rotates through a scan on the south rim of Halemaʻumaʻu on June 10.

Scientists at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory largely rely on aerial data collection for making maps of ongoing eruptions at Kilauea. Most commonly, scientists collect a series of overlapping aerial photos (optical or thermal).