36 years ago, Mt. St. Helens erupted as the most devastating volcano in the history of the United States. Volcanologists were able to detect and analyze the phenomenon by using high-precision instruments to capture the mountain’s fluctuation prior to eruption. Electrolytic tiltmeters are used in many places to manage the health of infrastructure and monitor geological hazards.
1. Volcanic Activity Monitoring
Volcanic activity is generally preceded by subtle ground movements due to magma collecting near the surface. Jewell’s 700 series and Lily sensors have been installed to monitor dozens of volcanoes on four continents. The Lily is also in place on the Pacific Ocean floor to monitor an undersea volcano. These sensors allow scientists to predict eruptions days before disaster strikes.
2. Slope Stability Studies
Landslides can give subtle hints before they strike too. An in-place inclinometer such as the Little Dipper, can be dug into the ground horizontally or vertically and strung in a series to detect when layers of sediment are sliding too far.
3. Infrastructure Tilt Monitoring
Most of us drive over a bridge without contemplating the engineering marvel that these structures are. Peace of mind can be taken that bridges are often monitored continuously with sensors to ensure their safety. A variety of Jewell sensors have been employed in this manner across three continents, ranging from the Emerald series to the same 700 series that is installed on the volcanoes.
Where Are Tiltmeters Being Used?
High precision sensors are keeping people safe worldwide. Notable bridges such as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Seattle Swing Bridge, Confederation Bridge in Prince Edward Island, and Namhea and Kahwacheo Bridges in Korea all have high precision sensors to thank for their maintenance.
Mt. St. Helens and Yellowstone are rigged with sensors to anticipate their activity as well. If only there were high-precision sensors in AD 79.