Volcano Pilot


Andes Volcanoes

The Volcano Pilot is focusing efforts on three objectives over the 2014-2017 life of the project:

1) a regional study of volcanic unrest and eruption in Latin America using SAR and visible/IR satellite data;

2) support of volcano Supersites, especially in Hawaii, Iceland, and Italy (Geohazard Supersites and Natural Laboratories (GSNL)); and

3) comprehensive remote sensing coverage of a significant eruptive event that threatens population, preferably located in Southeast Asia (where Pilot activities are currently limited).

Thus far, the third objective has not been started, since a suitable eruption has not occurred within the 2014-present timeframe. A number of results have been achieved in the first two objectives, however, ranging from research into magma plumbing systems to monitoring of sudden hazardous eruptive activity. In all cases, results were achieved either achieved collaboratively with, or communicated to, local scientists and stakeholders. Thus, the Volcano Pilot is well on its way towards its goal of demonstrating that remote sensing data have exceptional value in monitoring, assessing, mitigating, and researching volcanic hazards, during all phases of the eruption cycle—before eruptions occur, during eruptions, and post-eruption recovery.

Noteworthy results from the Volcano Pilot include:

- Eruption of Calbuco, Chile

- Volcanic unrest in South America (Cerro Negro / Chiles, Ecuador-Columbia border)

- Deformation of Fernandina, Galapagos

- May 2015 intrusion at Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii

- Post-eruptive inflation of Cordon Caulle, Chile

- Tracking changes associated with unrest at Cotopaxi, Ecuador

Volcano Pilot Overview & Annex.

The GSNL Event Supersites and the Volcanic Hazards Pilot Objective C 


GSNL Event Supersite

CEOS Volcano Pilot – Obj. C


Improve the scientific understanding of source, processes and effects of a major volcanic eruption, integrating in situ and satellite data to provide information to local Users for situational awareness.

Demonstrate the use of satellite EO data for the rapid generation of advanced science products that support emergency management officials in assessing and mitigating volcanic hazards.


Eruptions that are significant in terms of size (i.e., Plinian eruptions) and/or societal impact (quantified by number of people affected or economic impact), or of important scientific interest.  To become an Event Supersite, an eruption must be proposed by the scientific community.

The Volcano Pilot is focused on Latin America (Mexico-Chile, including the Lesser Antilles and Galapagos) and permanent volcano supersites (Hawaii, Iceland, Italy, Ecuador, and New Zealand).  Data are not available outside these areas, and activity within these masks is often not sufficiently unusual or threatening to warrant designation as an Event Supersite.  


  • The global geohazard scientific community
  • Research institutes with a national mandate to support disaster management agencies

Users include a designated group of pilot scientists who interact with organizations that have a national and/or international mandate for volcanic hazards assessment, like civil protection agencies, volcano observatories, and volcanic ash advisory centers.  These organizations typically receive derived and interpreted products from the scientific users.

Data Access & Products

In situ and satellite data are licensed to the GSNL scientific community. Scientific.products must be shared openly, with a license allowing re-use for non commercial purposes.

Data can be accessed by registered members of the CEOS Volcano Pilot. Sharing of derived products is encouraged, and interactions with hazards assessment/mitigation end users are expected.


Focused on the period over which hazardous or unusual volcanic activity is occurring.

Targets the entire cycle of volcanism, including prior to the onset of volcanic activity, across the duration of unrest and eruption, and throughout post-eruptive recovery.

Learn more: http://www.earthobservations.org/gsnl.php