Volcano Watch: Why is the 2018 lava still so hot?

HILO — As roads are recut into Kilauea’s 2018 lava flow field, many have been surprised at how hot the lava remains under the surface, even though it is solidified. Why is it still so hot? The short and simple answer is that lava insulates itself very well.

Volcano Watch: High-altitude station maintenance on Mauna Loa

U.S. Geological Survey trucks pull off the shoulder of Mauna Loa Observatory Road before dawn. I park the Jeep at the helicopter staging area, a flat rubble strip flanked by a’a lava. The air is cool and thin at 10,000 feet altitude. Our field crew of six from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) keep warm unloading gear. We clear the landing zone for the inbound pilot. We organize packs, tools and equipment by checklist for the helicopter.

Volcano Watch: What was that ship doing by the 2018 lava deltas?

HILO — In late September, East Hawaii residents with ocean views may have noticed an unusual ship — too small for a cruise ship, too big for a fishing boat — sailing just offshore of the 2018 lava deltas along the Puna coast. It also entered Hilo Harbor, where it deployed several smaller boats that canvassed the bay within the breakwall.

Volcano Watch: Why do so many deep earthquakes happen around Pahala?

The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) detects tens of thousands of earthquakes each year. Currently, one of the most active areas of seismicity is Kilauea’s lower Southwest Rift Zone. This area produces numerous deep earthquakes, mostly at depths of 5-25 miles beneath the town of Pahala and extending about 6 miles offshore.

HVO staff lend a helping hand to Alaska colleagues

ALEUTIAN ISLANDS, ALASKA — Volcano observatories across the United States work together to ensure efficient and thorough monitoring of the nation’s active volcanoes. This collaboration is particularly evident during a crisis, like the 2018 eruption of Kilauea Volcano.

Volcano Watch: Volcano scientists gather for a volatile meeting

HILO — This week, a group of volcanic gas scientists from across the United States, including staff from the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, will gather at the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington, for a workshop to improve and facilitate collaboration within the volcanic gas community during times of eruption or volcanic unrest.

Volcano Watch: What does water in Halemaumau mean?

VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK — The slowly deepening pond of water on the floor of Halemaumau, the first in recorded history, has captured the interest of media and the public, both locally and nationally. Many questions are being asked. The two most frequent are, where is the water coming from, and what is its importance?

Mauna Loa Volcano’s 1935 lava flow seen in current media coverage of Mauna Kea

In ongoing media coverage of demonstrations at the base of Maunakea, many hundreds of people can be seen standing on a black lava flow that surrounds the Puu Huluhulu Native Tree Sanctuary adjacent to the Daniel K. Inouye Highway. That same lava flow continues on the other side of the highway, which traverses the saddle between Mauna Loa and Maunakea.

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of Kilauea’s Mauna Ulu eruption

HILO — May 24, 2019, was a notable date in Kilauea Volcano’s history. It is the one-year anniversary of several key events in the 2018 Kilauea eruption, most notably, the reactivation of fissure 8 with intermittent spattering while fissures 7 and 21 were producing two aa flows. It is also the 50th anniversary of another important event on Kilauea’s East Rift Zone: the start of the 1969-1974 Mauna Ulu eruption.

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.