One very popular activity are the flights over the volcano. Usually the explosivity is sufficiently low to not make this prohibitively dangerous, although the only flights currently permitted are those for volcanic monitoring. The flights usually last 1 hour and the cost is about US$90 per person with 5 taking part. The aim is not just a joyride, but to get recent images of the crater, growing lava dome, if there is one, fumaroles and other features. It is important that we get both photographic and infrared images to calculate the effusion rate and understand the growth processes. We use the latest photogrammetric techniques to create digital elevation models to get accurate estimates of volumes. We try to organise these flights once every one to two months.
Each year a series of lectures is organised, particularly between July and November, to compliment field trips and expand our volcanology. Here you can see the lectures given in the last years with visiting lecturers coming from both the USA and Europe. Also final year undergraduate or postgraduate students are encouraged to give short presentations about any project work they have completed.
This activity obviously is highly dependent upon current activity. During the 2008 – 2011 period several climbs were undertaken when the explosions were of a sufficiently low magnitude to not create an excessive risk on the crater rim. We did not enter the crater or venture on the more exposed W side of the rim. Visits are kept to a minimum duration to minimize the risk. The aim is to get detailed infrared images of the growing dome, obtain rock and ash samples, and take detailed measurements of the dome height for effusion rate calculations. Any increase or uncertainty in the activity would mean a climb would not take place. It is quite strenuous due to the loose recent pyroclastic deposits covering the slopes. Since 2013 no climbs have taken place due to more energetic explosions being commonplace.