Volcano Watch — Column keeps providing lava-watchers' info

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This is roughly the 150th weekly column of "VolcanoWatch,"which was begun in November 1991 to keep readers informed of the on-going activity of Kīlauea Volcano.
 

This is roughly the 150th weekly column of "VolcanoWatch,"which was begun in November 1991 to keep readers informed of the on-going activity of Kīlauea Volcano.

In addition, it serves to educate the public about the methods and techniques U.S. Geological Survey scientists use to monitor eruptive activity, to apprise the public about the geologic hazards in Hawaii, and to explain ways to mitigate against these hazards.

Most of these columns have been written by me, David Clague, Scientist-in-Charge at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, but many staff members have filled in for me when I am away on travel, as I have been the past three weeks. I want to take this opportunity to thank, not only the staff who have ably written columns, but all the Observatory staff who make the field observations, collect the data, maintain the field and laboratory equipment that collects and stores the data, purchase supplies and new equipment, and help prepare and distribute this column.

Last week's column outlined the main working groups that make up the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory; now I'd like to tell you who these dedicated individuals are.

The person who fills in for me in managing the Observatory when I am away, and who wrote several of the columns in the past two weeks, is Arnold Okamura, Deputy Scientist-in-Charge. He and I are ably supported by an administrative staff consisting of Pauline Fukunaga, Marion Kagimoto, and Irene Tengan, and librarian and photoarchivist Jane Takahashi.

The people who keep all the field and computer equipment running are Renee Ellorda, Ken Honma, Allan Largo, and Wil Tanigawa.

The seismology group, which keeps track of the hundreds of earthquakes that occur each day, includes Alice Gripp, Laura Kong, Jennifer Nakata, Paul Okubo, and Alvin Tomori. Roger Denlinger, Michael Lisowski, Asta Miklius, and Maurice Sako do the geodetic monitoring, measuring changes in the ground surface caused by magma movement and seaward slip of the flanks of the volcanoes.

The geology group, Christina Heliker, Maggie Mangan, Tari Mattox, and Carl Thornber monitor the changes in eruptive activity and lava flow emplacement. Tamar Elias and Jeff Sutton are the gas geochemists. The geophysics group, consisting of Jim Kauahikaua and Gary Puniwai, measure changes in electrical properties and gravity that help define underground structure.

Jack Lockwood and Frank Trusdell are doing detailed mapping of Mauna Loa Volcano. This project, when completed in a few years, should provide a framework for understanding the long-term eruptive history of Mauna Loa and thereby improve our understanding of its lava flow hazards.

In addition to the full-time staff, we also employ a number of local students part-time including Francine Coloma, Steven Fuke, Andrea Kaawaloa, Leigh Ann Kishii, Ramona Navarrete, and Jon Tokuuke, who assist with a wide range of tasks.

I extend my personal mahalo and wishes for a happy and productive 1995 to all these people, who make the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory a special place to work.

January 3 marks the 12th anniversary of the ongoing eruption along Kīlauea's east rift zone. In next week's column, I will provide a summary of those 12 years of activity, with emphasis on the changes that occurred during the past year.

Volcano Activity Update

Lava viewing continues to be excellent at the end of Chain of Craters Road inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Park Service rangers have marked a roughly half-mile-long trail that leads to an area of active surface flows below Paliuli.