EGU22-3583, updated on 10 Jan 2023
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Monitoring gas dynamics in underwater volcanic environments using iXblue SeapiX multi split beam echosounder: an example from the Laacher See (Eifel, Germany)

Guillaume Jouve1, Corentin Caudron2,3, Guillaume Matte1, and Frédéric Mosca1
Guillaume Jouve et al.
  • 1iXblue Sonar Systems, La Ciotat, France
  • 2ISTerre, Univ. Grenoble Alpes, Univ. Savoie Mont Blanc, CNRS, IRD, IFSTTAR Grenoble, France
  • 3Département Géosciences, Environnement et Société, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgique

Forecasting volcanic and limnic eruption for improving early warning systems is crucial to prevent severe impact on human lives. One of the main triggers of explosive eruptions is volcanic gases which, contrary to the atmosphere, are easily detected in water column, particularly using hydro-acoustic methods [1]. Two pioneering studies have monitored gas venting into Kelud Crater Lake (Indonesia) from a hydroacoustic station shortly before a Plinian eruption in 1990 [1] and, nearly two decades later, by empirically quantifying CO2 fluxes by acoustic measurements in the same lake just before a non-explosive eruption [2]. However, despite hydroacoustic detection capabilities, fundamental advances are limited by technology performances. Overall acoustic detection of a bubble field is easy, while its quantification remains complex due to the 3D structure of clouds, heterogeneous bubbles sizes and acoustic interactions between them. It is thus necessary to accurately map the different bubble clouds, to monitor their evolution through time to reduce the volcanic risk, which is major in aqueous environments. Here, we present preliminary results of water column gas distributions and quantification from an Eifel crater lake (Germany), using iXblue Seapix 3D multi splitbeam echosounder. SeapiX acoustic array is based on very special geometry, a dual/steerable multibeam echosounder with a Mills Cross configuration. It allows a 120° x120° coverage (quasi realtime coverage) with 1.6° resolution, made by 128 single elements. All beams in all steering direction process Split Beam TS measurement to provide true acccurate volumic TS from all single target in the volume. Backscatter profiles of elements in the water column allowed to distinguish fish and gas bubbles, which demonstrates a potential for the development of an automatic gas detection module using the Seapix software. Ongoing research on the Target Strengh (TS) of bubbles suggest they are of very small size (35 μm), much smaller than observed elsewhere using single beam echosounders, which might also explain why, in the same spot, we did not observe gas bubbles using camera mounted on ROV. Using the steerable capability of the system, a recent mission performed a 4D monitoring of gas bubbling of a single gas plume, in a static position placed on a USV and anchored, raising new perspectives to anticipate the tipping point of a critical enhancement of gas release and to mitigate the volcanic risk.

[1] Vandemeulebrouck et al (2000) J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res 97, 1-4: 443-456

[2] Caudron et al (2012) JGR: Solid Earth 117, B5


How to cite: Jouve, G., Caudron, C., Matte, G., and Mosca, F.: Monitoring gas dynamics in underwater volcanic environments using iXblue SeapiX multi split beam echosounder: an example from the Laacher See (Eifel, Germany), EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-3583,, 2022.