Development of an automatic volcanic ash sampling apparatus for active volcanoes

Taketo Shimano, Takeshi Nishimura, Nobuyuki Chiga, Yoshinobu Shibasaki, Masato Iguchi, Daisuke Miki, Akihiko Yokoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


We develop an automatic system for the sampling of ash fall particles, to be used for continuous monitoring of magma ascent and eruptive dynamics at active volcanoes. The system consists of a sampling apparatus and cameras to monitor surface phenomena during eruptions. The Sampling Apparatus for Time Series Unmanned Monitoring of Ash (SATSUMA-I and SATSUMA-II) is less than 10 kg in weight and works automatically for more than a month with a 10-kg lead battery to obtain a total of 30 to 36 samples in one cycle of operation. The time range covered in one cycle varies from less than an hour to several months, depending on the aims of observation, allowing researchers to target minute-scale fluctuations in a single eruptive event, as well as daily to weekly trends in persistent volcanic activity. The latest version, SATSUMA-II, also enables control of sampling parameters remotely by e-mail commands. Durability of the apparatus is high: our prototypes worked for several months, in rainy and typhoon seasons, at windy and humid locations, and under strong sunlight. We have been successful in collecting ash samples emitted from Showa crater almost everyday for more than 4 years (2008-2012) at Sakurajima volcano in southwest Japan.

Original languageEnglish
Article number773
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalBulletin of Volcanology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Dec


  • Automatic sampling
  • Multidisciplinary monitoring
  • Time series data
  • Volcanic ash


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