Volcano Watch: Assessing Kilauea’s SO2 emissions

If you were around Hawaii Island — or even other Hawaiian Islands, or Guam — between May and August 2018, you likely know that Kilauea’s lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) eruption released a lot of sulfur dioxide (SO2). But how much is a lot?

Volcano Watch: HVO assists CSAV with International Training

The mission of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) is “to monitor, investigate, and assess hazards from active volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawaii, and communicate results of this work to the public, emergency managers, and scientific community.”

Looking for maps? GIS data? Try the HVO publications page!

Many messages to AskHVO (askHVO@usgs.gov) request resources relating to geologic maps and geographic information systems (GIS) data. “Is there a map of a certain lava flow?” “Where can I find the associated GIS data?” All HVO and USGS publications are searchable at https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/, but this service is most effective if you already know what to look for.

More extreme rainfall could mean more volcanic eruptions

The May 3, 2018, eruption of Kilauea volcano caused property damage worth $800 million and injured two dozen people —a catastrophe for the area, but nothing unusual for a volcanic event. But researchers now think there might be something extraordinary about the eruption, after all. Scientists at the University of Miami argue that record-breaking rainfall in preceding months may have helped trigger the blast.

April 1980 was a month to remember at Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens was exploding! The first eruption in the Cascades since 1914­-17 (Lassen Peak) started on March 27, 1980. April became a frenzied, exciting, challenging, sometimes frustrating, once-in-a-lifetime experience for several scientists with experience at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), called on to measure the deforming volcano.

VOLCANO WATCH: Aloha and Happy Retirement to Janet Babb

With heavy heart, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) bids aloha to Janet Babb, outreach geologist and educator extraordinaire who retired from federal service in late March. Because of her dedication and guidance over the years, HVO is well-positioned to carry on a tradition of quality media and public engagement.

Water, ash, and the great unknown of explosive volcanic eruptions

The presence of water in Halema’uma’u has sparked an important discussion about what the pond means for future eruptions at Kilauea Volcano. There are no written records of water at the summit, so to guide the discussion we need information about magma-water interaction from deposits of the past.

HVO’s geological sample collections are an important resource

In the past, HVO would occasionally post images of people collecting lava samples on our website. These photos usually featured a person (with little-exposed skin) holding a rock hammer, with a metal bucket nearby. The bucket contained water to “quench” the sample, solidifying the hot lava into a cold glass. Natural-fiber or heat-resistant gloves, and sometimes a face mask, protected the sample collector from heat radiating off the 2,100-degree lava. The hammer was used to scoop some of the molten material into the bucket, which would hiss and steam in reaction; more water would be added to cool down the sample so it could be placed in a cloth bag.

Report finds failures in county’s lava response

Hawaii County has released a report largely critical of its own response to the monthslong eruption of Kilauea volcano in 2018 — in which Halema‘uma‘u crater threw ash 30,000 feet into the air, lava destroyed a 716 homes and structures in lower Puna, and hundreds of residents were displaced.