Hawaii Volcano Blog

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Volcano Watch: Using Earthquakes to Look Under The Hood at Pāhala

Deep beneath Pāhala, a town located in the southern part of the Island of Hawaiʻi, is currently the most seismically active region of the Hawaiian Islands.
Friday, May 06, 2022

Volcano Watch: Kīlauea’s Dynamic Landscape — Reflections on The Past Four Years

May 3 marked the fourth anniversary of the start of Kīlauea’s historic 2018 eruption that covered much of lower Puna with lava flows and dropped the crater floor of the summit. This anniversary is an appropriate time to reflect on the dynamic landscape we share and the events of the past 4 years. At the same time, we’re considering what these recent changes might mean for future activity at Kīlauea.
Friday, April 29, 2022

Volcano Watch: What Do Vog and Wildfire Smoke Plumes Have in Common?

Since 2010, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa researchers at the Vog Measurement and Prediction Program (VMAP) have been studying the dispersion of vog in Hawaiʻi. 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.
Friday, April 22, 2022

Volcano Watch: It is Earth Day, My Earthlings

Earth Day was first established on April 22, 1970, to raise awareness of some of the harmful effects industrialization was having on the environment.
Friday, April 15, 2022

Volcano Watch: From Mauna Loa or Kīlauea? A Geologic Whodunnit

Mauna Loa and Kīlauea are the two most active volcanoes on the Island of Hawai‘i, and they have overlapping eruption histories. They are located in close proximity, with their summit craters only about about 34 kilometers (21 miles) apart. In fact, part of Kīlauea is built on the southeast flank of Mauna Loa, which is the older of the two volcanoes.
Friday, April 08, 2022

Volcano Watch: How Tephra Deposits Unlock The Secrets of Kīlauea Volcano’s Explosive Past

I think the Island of Hawaiʻi is one of the most magical places on Earth. You can literally see land in the making when one of the volcanoes is erupting. But the familiar sight of red-glowing lava flows makes it hard to imagine a time when eruptions were different, and to think that such a time may come again someday.
Friday, April 01, 2022

Volcano Watch: The 2018 Eruption of Kīlauea Was Big on a Global Scale

The 2018 eruption of Kīlauea volcano had devastating effects on the lower Puna District, destroying hundreds of homes, burying subdivisions and permanently affecting the lives of thousands of residents. The voluminous lava flow had a major impact on the Island of Hawaiʻi, but how does it compare to other lava flow eruptions on Earth in recent history?
Thursday, March 24, 2022

Volcano Watch Remembers a Special Event: The 2011 Kamoamoa Eruption

The 35-year-long Pu‘u‘ō‘ō eruption on the middle East Rift Zone of Kīlauea was a remarkable opportunity for scientists to improve volcano research and monitoring. Even short-lived episodes in this eruption, like the four-day-long Kamoamoa eruption, offered important insights.
Friday, March 18, 2022

Volcano Watch: New Instrument With New Potential — the Absolute Quantum Gravimeter

As the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) continually improves our monitoring and eruption response capabilities, we acquired a new, state-of-the-art instrument called an Absolute Quantum Gravimeter (AQG). HVO scientists are excited about the AQG’s ability to measure very small mass changes beneath the ground surface, which will help detect underground volcanic processes.
Thursday, March 10, 2022

Volcano Watch: Magma Chamber Music Can Tell a Revealing Tale

For decades scientists have been interpreting these seismic signals at volcanoes in Hawaiʻi and around the world as evidence of underground magma migration or accumulation, which can be used to look for signs that might indicate an impending eruption.
Friday, March 04, 2022

Volcano Watch: Comparing Today’s Kīlauea Summit Lava Lake With Past Observations

The Feb. 3 installment of “Volcano Watch” introduced some of the data streams that are used to monitor eruption pauses and renewals at Kīlauea’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 2008–2018, before the series of collapses in 2018 changed Kīlauea’s summit topography.
Friday, February 18, 2022

Volcano Watch: Something New From Something Old — A New Geologic Map of The State of Hawaiʻi

The original purpose of geologic mapping in Hawaiʻi was to understand the distribution of groundwater and soils to support agriculture. But as geologic maps have been developed over time, they’ve provided basic information on how the Hawaiian Islands evolved, the workings of individual volcanoes and the relative degree of long-term hazards posed.
Friday, February 04, 2022

Volcano Watch: Kīlauea’s Summit Glow That Comes and Goes

Kīlauea’s summit glow comes and goes frequently these days. This is due to a pattern of pauses in lava lake activity within Halema‘uma‘u crater over the last two and a half months.
Friday, January 28, 2022

Volcano Watch: Kamaʻehuakanaloa — The Volcano Formerly Known as Lōʻihi Seamount

The new name was unanimously adopted in July 2021 by the Hawaiʻi Board on Geographic Names.
Friday, January 21, 2022

Volcano Watch: Deciphering Explosive Behavior at Mauna Loa

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.
Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Lack of Trade Winds Shift Vog Over E. Hawaiʻi

Vog, the hazy mixture of sulfur dioxide gas and aerosols, which can affect broad areas downwind of volcanic eruptions, moved back into the air — and lungs — of the Big Island for several days the first week of the new year and early last week.
Thursday, January 06, 2022

Volcano Watch: The Legacy of Alexander Lancaster

Known to many as “Pele’s Grandson,” Alexander (“Alex” or “Alec”) Lancaster guided both tourists and scientists to Hawai‘i’s volcanoes for over forty years, from 1885 to 1928.
Friday, December 31, 2021

Volcano Watch: Should Old Eruptions be Forgot? Increase Your Volcano Awareness This January

January was established as the Island of Hawai‘i’s annual Volcano Awareness Month in 2010 as part of an effort to increase understanding of Hawaiian volcanoes among residents and visitors.
Saturday, December 25, 2021

Volcano Watch: Infrared (IR) Measurements Help HVO Scientists Unravel Kīlauea’s Gas Chemistry

While gases in the air and dissolved volatiles in molten magma (preserved as glass and glass inclusions in minerals) may not seem like they’d be measured the same way, we can use the same principles and techniques to measure both and help us understand eruptive activity.
Friday, December 17, 2021

Volcano Watch: HVO’s Ongoing Recovery From the 2018 Kīlauea Eruption

Communities on the Island of Hawai‘i continue to recover from Kīlauea’s 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption and summit collapse as does the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
Load More Articles