Crowcon - Detecting Gas Saving Lives
08 October 2015
15 volcanoes. 6 Scientists. 1 Land Rover. 6 Gas Detectors.

When I was contacted by one of our sister companies’ requesting support for a research team, I was immediately struck by the extreme nature of the ‘Trail by Fire’ project. A small team of roving volcanologists is aiming to provide the first accurate and large-scale estimate of the flux of a number of volatile gas species. Keeping this team safe in their work became a priority and I am proud to announce that Crowcon is supporting this young group of researchers working along the Nazca subduction zone in South America.

The “Trail by Fire” project, funded by the 2015 bursary from Land Rover and the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) is an ambitious scientific expedition which will attempt to quantify the total amount of volatiles released by volcanoes along the Nazca subduction zone. Land Rover have turned a Defender 110 into the world’s first 4×4 volcano observatory, able to reach and measure active volcanoes never studied before. No-one has done this before. The South American Andes is one of the world’s most tectonically and volcanically active regions, and the remote locations, high elevations and lack of established routes to the summit of its volcanoes has resulted in a scarcity of scientific studies.

One of the major objectives of the Trail by Fire expedition is to collect samples of toxic volcanic gases in evacuated (“Giggenbach”) bottles. The team of six will need to  approach high concentration gas sources without compromising their personal safety. “That’s where Crowcon comes in” says Aaron Curtis (team Drone Specialist).

“With the proven dependability of Crowcon’s Gas-Pro and Gasman, we’ll be able to do our work in confidence and peace of mind. As a bonus, the onboard datalogging feature will provide us an extra line of useful data and an idea of average exposure, which is especially important for those of us who will be on the expedition for more than three months.

At 6,000m, every extra gram of equipment we carry has a cost in sweat and risk. That’s why we were thrilled to learn how lightweight and compact Crowcon equipment is. I’ve lugged bulky, heavy personal gas monitors through the ice caves of Mt Erebus and been sorely tempted to leave those bricks behind. Not so with the Gas-Pro and Gasman — we’ll set these up, clip ’em on, and go about our business.”

While the team make their final preparations Crowcon welcomed Dr. Yves Moussallam and Dr. Nial Peters to our headquarters in Abingdon for training on Gas-Pro and Gasman. During the expedition we will be sharing direct updates from the team and look forward to hearing news of progress.

Louise Early
Strategic Industry Manager

Read more about the project:
You can also follow their adventure on twitter @trailbyfire


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