Engineers Australia

Remote Monitoring of an Urban Mud Volcano

Dr Andrew Hart

On 29 May 2006, a mud volcano erupted in the Sidoarjo regency of East Java, Indonesia. Fourteen people were killed and around 40,000 people lost their homes in the immediate aftermath. Unlike other mud volcanoes, this one has been erupting almost continuously since then, burying villages, factories and farmland to now cover an area of almost six square kilometres. The erupting mud is now largely confined by earth embankments that surround the mud volcano on all sides. After being approached by a client concerned about mud reaching nearby industrial facilities and the potential for ground subsidence resulting from the eruption, Atkins has been monitoring and assessing these risks since early 2007. This work has included using a combination of remote sensing techniques to map and monitor the growth of the mud volcano as well as ground surface movements and deformation around the mud volcano area. This work, which has been assisted by a number of technical specialists, has also included occasional field visits to verify the results of the remote sensing interpretations against actual ground conditions, and the review of available scientific literature. To date, the remote sensing work has shown that while the flow of mud from the crater area is now being constrained by the earth embankments surrounding the mud volcano, the ground movements are effecting a much larger area, and are potentially also being heavily influenced by anthropogenic factors. This presentation will provide an overview of the ongoing eruption and how it has developed since 2006. It will also highlight how the use of remote sensing mapping techniques has allowed for the risks posed by the eruption to be monitored over an extended period of time in an innovative but cost-effective manner, as well as the importance of field verification in such work.

About the speaker

Dr Andrew Hart

Dr Andrew HartChief Engineering Geomorphologist, Atkins

Dr Andrew Hart is a Chief Engineering Geomorphologist working for Atkins, where is also the Discipline Lead for Engineering Geomorphology, Geohazards and Ground Modelling. Andrew has over 22 years of experience assessing the impacts of Geohazards and other geo-engineering constraints while working on a wide variety of infrastructure projects. This has included O&G pipelines and facilities, iron ore railways, highways and mountain roads and offshore wind farms, as well as Geohazard Assessment and Disaster Risk Reduction projects. This means that Andrew has been lucky enough to work in many interesting parts of the world, with a wide range of client organisations and project teams. His LinkedIn can be found at this link (

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