Volcano Watch: How measuring gravity on Maunakea helps us monitor Mauna Loa

  • A gravimeter measuring the force of gravity on Maunakea. These measurements are used to calibrate the instruments so they can precisely monitor changes in gravity from magma accumulation at Mauna Loa (background). (USGS/Special to West Hawaii Today)

It’s 5 a.m. and a somewhat sleepy scientist is getting ready to leave his home in Honomu and head to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) office on Kamehameha Avenue in Hilo. Yawning — and not quite fully caffeinated — he says goodbye to the dog following him around the kitchen who’s wondering why they’re up so early.