The MuTe project:

A muon telescope for volcano muography

MuTe is a muon telescope designed for scanning geophysical targets using the muography technique. We are particularly interested in studying the inner structure of hazardous volcanoes as the Cerro Machín (Tolima-Colombia). MuTe combines a particle tracking system of scintillator tiles and a water Cherenkov detector for particle identification –a hybrid muon detector.

Cerro Machín Volcano


It is a stratovolcano located on the west side of the Cordillera Central in Colombia at 17 km from the Ibagué-Tolima municipality. At least six eruptive events have taken place in the last 5000 years, the most recent 900 years ago. The Cerro Machín volcano represents a key target because of its seismic activity increase, explosive potential, and wide range of its deposits.

Observation place

Puntos Machin

On 25 July 2017 a researcher group of the MuTe project accompained by the expert in volcanology Lilia Arana Salinas (Universidad Atónoma de México), visit the Cerro Machín volcano to characterize the dome zone. Soil, weather, and muon flux data were recorded.

Mechanical structure

The MuTe structure supports a stainless steel tank 120 cm side and a pair of square steel panels. The tank, located on the mass center, contains 1.7 m³ of water as the sensitive medium of the Cherenkov detector. The distance between panels sets the telescope acceptance and angular resolution.


The instrument electronics splits into two: the hodoscope and the water Cherenkov detector DAQs. The hodoscope tracks the trajectory of crossing particles while the WCD measures their deposited energy. A Time-of-Flight system allows us to discriminate the forward and backward particle flux.