Volcano Watch: Students used science to monitor eruption air

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK — During the 2018 eruption of Kilauea Volcano, when fissures erupted and lava flowed in the lower East Rift Zone (LERZ), many Puna residents were displaced from their homes. We, as a community, watched from the sidelines as the eruption went on, helpless in averting the course of nature.

What we’ve learned from Kilauea’s 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK — May 3 marks the one-year anniversary of the start of Kilauea Volcano’s 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption. Over the past year, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) geologists and collaborators have been closely studying the vast amount of data collected during the summer eruption. Now is a good time to explore what’s been learned, and what’s still unfolding.

What caused — or did not cause — the 2018 Kilauea eruption?

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK — When a major geologic event occurs, scientists who study such events and the people who are directly or indirectly impacted by it seek to understand its cause. Often, a first step toward that understanding is to rule out what did not cause the event.

Eruption pause provides an opportunity to probe volcanic pollution

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK — The end of Kilauea’s 2018 eruption this past September was accompanied by an enormous decrease in the amount of sulfur dioxide gas (SO2) emitted from the volcano. This has led to beautifully clear skies gracing Hawaii Island, particularly noticeable on the west side, where the volcanic pollution known as vog chronically collected in past years.

New outcrops make good geology

VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK — A good field geologist is an opportunist. Never content with what outcrops are available, she jumps at the chance to see another one, hoping that it will provide a better understanding to some question about what happened in the past. But it isn’t every day that new outcrops are created, and rarer still when they are on the scale of those formed during the faulting of Kilauea Volcano’s caldera floor in summer 2018.

Volcano Watch: Did groundwater trigger explosive eruptions at Kilauea?

VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK — In February 1924, the surface of the lava lake at Halemaumau dropped rapidly and disappeared from view. Throughout March and April, the crater floor subsided as magma moved out of the summit reservoir into the East Rift Zone. By May 6, 1924, the floor of Halemaumau had dropped more about 600 feet below the crater rim.

Volcano Watch: Why does lava thickness matter?

VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK — Eruption rate — how much lava comes out of the ground per unit of time — is probably the best measure of volcanic activity, and the first step in that calculation is to measure lava flow thickness and area.

Volcano Watch: How do lava flows cool and how long does it take?

Since the end of the 2018 lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) eruption on Kilauea Volcano, questions have surfaced concerning how long it will take for the new lava flows to solidify. This is a difficult question to answer, because the initial eruptive temperatures along with many different factors can influence the rate of cooling.

Geologists map lava thickness

A preliminary map released this week by the U.S. Geological Survey shows the thickness of lava flows from Kilauea volcano’s most recent eruption.

Geology of the past, how long will the eruption last?

VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK — The 2018 lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) eruption of Kilauea brought an end to the 35-plus year eruption at Puu Oo. With the draining of the summit and the collapse of Puu Oo, Puna residents were concerned that the eruption in the LERZ could be long-lived.

Seven months of no lava at Puu Oo heralds end of an era

VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK — One of the most frequent questions asked of USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) scientists the last several months has been, “Is the Lower East Rift eruption over?” But the same question could – and should – be asked of the Puu Oo eruption.