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$119,000 Federal Grant to Research Kīlauea Eruption

May 31, 2018, 2:32 PM HST
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Sen. Mazie Hirono. Courtesy Photo

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono announced that the University of Hawai‘i will receive a $119,821 grant to study the ongoing volcanic activity on Hawai‘i Island. The project, RAPID: Tracking magmatic and volcanic changes in the May 2018 Kīlauea Eruption, seeks to inform why the current volcanic activity is occurring and help to predict future eruption activity.

“Scientific data has been critical to tracking the volcanic activity on Hawai‘i Island to minimize the threat to Puna families,” Sen. Hirono said. “This federal funding is timely and will increase the resources available to study Kilauea’s east rift zone and gain insight into future eruptions.”

“We are extremely grateful to both the US National Science Foundation and the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory for funding and supporting this research into the current eruption at Kīlauea, using a range of rapid-response tools,” Dr. Ken Rubin, Principal Investigator and Department Chair of the University of Hawai‘i Department of Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology Division said.

The project was funded through the National Science Foundation’s Rapid Research Response program, which is available for research on natural disasters and other unanticipated events. The University of Hawai‘i study will assess the location and movement of magma beneath the lower east rift zone of Kilauea to provide information on the processes leading up to the fissures and eruption activity. Researches will also incorporate data collected by U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, including samples of lava taken throughout the event, to inform knowledge on volcanic processes and activities in volcanic rift zones.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed Senator Hirono’s bill to strengthen volcano monitoring centers like the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

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