Radar Tour of Kilauea Crater

Instructions: Click on a number to see ground photographs for that location.

We hope that you will find this presentation of interest, since it shows more of he "research side" of our work!

Some of the Virtually Hawaii team are also involved in NASA remote sensing projects. One such project is the Space Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR-C) experiment, which flew twice in 1994 (April and October). In order to start interpreting the SIR-C data for Kilauea, it is often useful to see what the landforms are like on the ground.

This page links you to 26 images that are keyed to the AIRSAR aircraft radar image below. These ground photographs have been selected so that they show details of the surface morphology that helps us interpret the radar backscatter on the AIRSAR and SIR-C data. The discussion is to help researchers in their analysis of the radar data, rather than to help the tourist understand the more scenic parts of the volcano.

Remember, that bright areas on a radar image are produced by strong radar returns, which are typically associated with rough surfaces (such as a'a lava flows) at the wavelength of the radar. Steep slopes facing towards the radar (such as the walls of the caldera and Halemaumau crater) are also shown as bright areas. Ash deposits and smooth surfaces (such as pahoehoe lava flows) appear dark on most radar images.

Author: Peter Mouginis-Mark

Copyright by P. Mouginis-Mark

Curator: Lori Glaze