Muon Tomography sites for Colombian volcanoes

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Alejandra Vesga-Ramírez
David Sierra Porta
Jesús Peña Rodríguez
José David Sanabria-Gómez
Martha Valencia-Otero
Christian Sarmiento-Cano
Mauricio Suárez-Durán
Hernán Asorey
Luis A. Núñez


By using a very detailed simulation scheme, we have calculated the cosmic ray background flux at 13 active Colombian volcanoes and developed a methodology to identify the most convenient places for a muon telescope to study their inner structure. Our simulation scheme considers three critical factors with different spatial and time scales: the geo-magnetic effects, the development of extensive air showers in the atmosphere, and the detector response at ground level. The muon energy dissipation along the path crossing the geological structure is modeled considering the losses due to ionization, and also contributions from radiative Bremßtrahlung, nuclear interactions, and pair production. By examining each particular volcano topography and assuming reasonable statistics for different instrument acceptances, we obtained the muon flux crossing each structure and estimated the exposure time for our hybrid muon telescope at several points around each geological edifice. After a detailed study from the topography, we have identified the best volcano to be studied, spotted the best points to place a muon telescope and estimated its time exposures for a significant statistics of muon flux. We have devised a mix of technical and logistic rules –the “rule of thumb” criteria– and found that only Cerro Machín, located at the Cordillera Central (4°29'N 75°22'W), can be feasibly studied today through muography. Cerro Negro and Chiles could be good candidates shortly.

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How to Cite
Vesga-Ramírez A., Sierra Porta, D., Peña Rodríguez, J., Sanabria-Gómez J. D., Valencia-Otero, M., Sarmiento-Cano, C., Suárez-Durán M., Asorey, H. and Núñez L. A. (2020) “Muon Tomography sites for Colombian volcanoes”, Annals of Geophysics, 63(6), p. VO661. doi: 10.4401/ag-8353.
Volcano Physics