Mauna Loa eruption cuts access, power to Mauna Loa Observatory

Lava from the Mauna Loa eruption on Monday night crossed the access road to the Mauna Loa Observatory, knocking out access and power to one of only four NOAA laboratories across the globe that measure atmospheric conditions and monitor carbon dioxide levels.

Volcano Watch: A forgotten collapse of Halema‘uma‘u crater on June 5-7, 1916

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.

Volcano Watch: What do vog and wildfire smoke plumes have in common?

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.

Volcano Watch: How tephra deposits unlock the secrets of Kilauea volcano’s explosive past

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.

Volcano Watch: The 2018 eruption of Kilauea was big on a global scale

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.