Follow along as we outline the journey of one of our volcanic samples used for geochemical analysis and the information we glean at each step.
Last month, a “Volcano Watch” article highlighted a lesser-known Mauna Loa eruption that ended May 31, 1916. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) staff had to make a quick turnaround a week later when Kilauea Volcano’s Halema‘uma‘u crater began to subside. A series of collapse events took place from June 5-7, 1916, and observers described it as one of the most spectacular occurrences they had ever witnessed at Kilauea.
June 8 was World Oceans Day, a day to appreciate the huge body of saltwater that covers about 71% of the Earth’s surface. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that our volcanic island is surrounded by oceans and one of the most distant places from continents on Earth. The ocean floor remains one of the most poorly understood places on our planet.
HONOLULU — Kilauea Volcano is now erupting a steady stream of lava after a period of intermittent pulsing.
Since 2010, University of Hawaii at Manoa researchers at the Vog Measurement and Prediction Program (VMAP) have been studying the dispersion of vog in Hawaii. The central goal of the effort has been to provide the public and emergency responders with accurate and timely forecasts that would help limit vog exposure for those in affected areas and communities.
I go to the summit of Kilauea most weeks to study the extent, thickness, and physical characteristics of a 400- to 500-year-old tephra deposit, the product of explosive eruptions and part of what is called the Keanakako‘i Tephra. The total deposit is up to 10 meters (30 feet) thick along the southern wall of Kilauea caldera, but it was created by fragment upon fragment of tephra falling to the ground from volcanic plumes rising out of the caldera.
Let’s start with what we know about the size of the 2018 eruption. Recent measurements by U.S. Geological Survey researcher Hannah Dietterich and collaborators using digital elevation models and unoccupied aircraft systems have produced an estimate of the volume of the 2018 lava flow. The high-end estimate is 1.4 cubic kilometers (or about 0.34 cubic miles). The estimate has a range because it is difficult to measure the volume of the lava that poured into the ocean.
All objects have a mass and therefore a gravity field. Earth’s gravitational pull is slightly stronger in areas with more mass and slightly weaker in areas with less mass. Gravimeters measure gravitational attraction.
In a lava lake, such as the one present from 2008-18 in Kilauea’s summit Halema‘uma‘u crater, we can sometimes visually observe these fluid motions as ripples or sloshing of the surface following disturbances from rockfalls or gas bursts.
The Feb. 3 installment of “Volcano Watch” introduced some of the data streams that are used to monitor eruption pauses and renewals at Kilauea’s summit, including ground tilt from borehole tiltmeters. Tilt data also provided valuable insight into the behavior of the lava lake that occupied Halemaʻumaʻu crater from 2008-18, before the series of collapses in 2018 changed Kilauea’s summit topography.
Question: what is arguably one of the most widely recognized volcano names in the world due to its references in the Old Testament?
Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai is located about 40 miles north of the Tongan capital city of Nuku’alofa. As with many volcanoes in Tonga, the part of the volcano that is visible above water is small compared to the submarine extent of the edifice and eruptions can alternately grow new land or destroy any islands that are formed.
Mauna Loa is known for its effusive eruptions that produce spectacular lava flows. However, some of the volcanic products found on Mauna Loa are pyroclastic or explosive in character.
We traditionally spend the New Year singing “Auld Lang Syne,” a song that reminisces about times long past. For the first month of the New Year, staff at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), and hopefully you too, will reflect on past and ongoing eruptions during the annual Volcano Awareness Month.
Most people in Hawaii know about sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas, the major component of vog. But, have you ever found yourself wanting to know the SO2/HCl (sulfur dioxide/hydrogen chloride) ratio in volcanic gas? Or the amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) dissolved in volcanic glass?
During the events of 2018, HVO instruments were lost, monitoring infrastructure was impacted, and HVO staff had to evacuate the observatory, which was damaged beyond repair.
The electronics workshop at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) buzzes with creative activity. It’s like Santa Claus’ workshop — for volcano science. Workbenches line the walls of the room, cluttered with things in the making: pliers, wires, and bottles of glue; voltmeters, calipers, and microchips, too.
A technique called structure-from-motion then uses motion parallax to construct a two-dimensional map or three-dimensional model of the area by matching the same features across multiple images.
Halema‘uma‘u crater has undergone repeated changes during the past two centuries. Prior to 1924, the size and shape of the Halema‘uma‘u lava lake changed frequently and lava commonly spilled out across the floor of Kilauea caldera.