The theory is that local hydrogen gas concentrations at volcanoes should change significantly and detectably before an eruption. To test the concept, a pair of sensitive hydrogen gas probes was placed at the Icelandic volcano, Krafla, where intermittent activity in recent years has produced eruptions and earthquakes. Data will be transmitted for continuous analysis by Motoaki Sato and his colleagues who developed the probes (see Figure 1).
The Krafla volcano is almost ideally suited for this test study. Similar to Hawaiian volcanoes in its history of ground deformation with inflation or swelling before and deflation occurring after eruption, Krafla may serve as a model for future applications. Robert Tilling, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program, stated enthusiastically, ‘If the tests are successful, the hydrogen probe could become an important tool in predicting volcanic eruptions around the world.’