The past two years of “Volcano Watch” articles from late May focused on commemorating the 49th and 50th anniversaries of the Mauna Ulu eruption. However, the end of May has several other notable Kilauea eruption beginnings, changes, and endings. Here we reflect on some selected anniversaries spanning 1823 to 2018.
Two years after the start of the Kilauea eruption in lower Puna, lava from the eruption is still estimated to be only half-cooled.
An increase in seismic activity around the youngest Hawaii volcano poses no immediate danger to the Big Island, geologists report.
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.”
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.
Understanding the immediate causes of volcanic eruptions is necessary for timely warnings. The topic, therefore, is of great interest to volcanologists, and each eruption offers an opportunity to add insight.
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.
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.
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.
Nearly 6,000 earthquakes have been recorded in the past eight months beneath Kilauea’s lower Southeast Rift Zone near Pahala in Ka‘u.
Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano on Earth, has erupted, on average, every 5–6 years during the past 3,000 years.
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.
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.
Last weeks Volcano Watch provided details of events leading up to the dropping of bombs on a Mauna Loa lava flow on Dec. 27, 1935. Heres the rest of the story.
In late February, Hawaii media reported on the recent discovery of two bombs on the north flank of Mauna Loa, but details were lacking. Today, we offer more info.
Hawaii County has released a report largely critical of its own response to the monthslong eruption of Kilauea volcano in 2018 in which Halemaumau 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.
The origin(s) of volcanic ash deposits on the Hawaii Island have been an enigma, especially those found on and between Kilauea and Mauna Loa. We know that ash is from explosive eruptions, but the question has been from which volcano?