Drones Used to Monitor Iceland's Volcanic Activity

The 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull brought European air traffic to a standstill

The 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull brought European air traffic to a standstill

Back in April and May of 2010, the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano grounded flights in Europe and affected over 10 million travellers.  Now though, drones are being deployed to help predict the country's next wave of seismic activity...

Iceland is known as the land of ice and fire for a reason, and although the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull has passed, 16 miles to the east lies Katla, one of the country's most active and dangerous volcanoes, deep under the Mýrdalsjökull glacier.

Katla is currently under close observation, because as well as having the potential to be more damaging and disruptive than Eyjafjallajökull, it's due an eruption. The volcano normally has a major eruption twice every 100 years, and the last time it went bang was back in 1918.

A DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter flying in the Holuhraun lava field, Iceland - Eric Cheng

A DJI Phantom 2 quadcopter flying in the Holuhraun lava field, Iceland - Eric Cheng

The good news? Drones are being use to help researchers monitor Katla, capturing footage and collating  data from hard-to-reach areas. In an interview with Sky News, drone pilot Ferdinand Wolf explained that "there are several uses for these drones to help the scientists. One would be to use the aerial images we take to create a detailed three-dimensional map of the volcano so you can see environmental changes in the area."

And that's not all. "Another use would be to put sensors on these drones or use infrared cameras to monitor thermal activities of an area and it is way more cost effective than a real-size helicopter."

Practical uses for drones such as these are being discovered all the time across a number of industries. In this case, let's hope that drones will help Iceland, and indeed the rest of Europe be as prepared as possible for Katla's inevitable eruption.  

In the meantime why not pack up your drone, head to Iceland on a volcano tour and enjoy some of the best aerial photography in the world - with the help of Airnest, of course...