In the last years, measurement instruments and techniques for three-dimensional mapping as Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) and photogrammetry from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are being increasingly used to monitor topographic changes on particular geological features such as volcanic areas. In addition, topographic instruments such as Total Station Theodolite (TST) and GPS receivers can be used to obtain precise elevation and coordinate position data measuring fixed points both inside and outside the area interested by volcanic activity. In this study, the integration of these instruments has helped to obtain several types of data to monitor both the variations in heights of extrusive edifices within the mud volcano field of the Nirano Regional Natural Reserve (Northern Italy), as well as to study the mechanism of micro-fracturing and the evolution of mud flows and volcanic cones with very high accuracy by 3D point clouds surface analysis and digitization. The large amount of data detected were also analysed to derive morphological information about mud-cracks and surface roughness. This contribution is focused on methods and analysis performed using measurement instruments as TLS and UAV to study and monitoring the main volcanic complexes of the Nirano Natural Reserve as part of a research project, which also involves other studies addressing gases and acoustic measurements, mineralogical and paleontological analysis, organized by the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in collaboration with the Municipality of Fiorano Modenese.
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