The expedition is funded by the 2015 Land Rover Bursary, run by the Royal Geographical Society (IBG) on behalf of Land Rover, and is the first to attempt a large-scale estimate of volatile gases expelled by active volcanoes along 2500 miles of the South American Andes.
The extreme conditions mean that personal gas detectors are a critical part of the expedition’s equipment. Crowcon portable Gas-Pro diffusion detectors are being used to monitor and alert team members to unsafe levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrogen sulphide (H2S), carbon monoxide (CO) and sulphur dioxide (SO2). The detectors also monitor average exposure levels to protect members from the risks of longer-term exposure at lower levels of the target gases. On-board data-logging, performed by the Gas-Pro detectors, provides the expedition team with an additional source of data.
During the initial stages of the Trail by Fire, the Gas-Pro detectors played a major role in the team’s ascents of the Ubinas, Sabancaya, El Misti, Ticsani and Tutupaca volcanoes, in addition to being used for protection in hydrothermal areas.
“Crowcon was originally contacted by our sister company, Ocean Optics, who is supplying the expedition with spectrometers,” explains Louise Early, Strategic Industry Manager at Crowcon. “With extreme working conditions, at altitudes of up to 6,000m, the Gas-Pro detectors combine the light weight and ruggedised construction which are demanded by these rigorous conditions.”
The progress of the Trail by Fire expedition can be followed on: www.trailbyfire.org