Volcano Watch — HVO's Clague honored at AGU meeting

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This past week, six members of the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory traveled to San Francisco to participate in the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). 

This past week, six members of the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory traveled to San Francisco to participate in the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). This organization has a membership of more than 31,000 scientists from over 100 countries, and approximately 20% of the members attend this annual meeting. Major disciplines represented at the meeting include Earth, atmospheric, oceanic, hydrologic, space, and planetary sciences.

The week-long meeting provides a forum for researchers to present and discuss the results of their studies to their peers. In addition to receiving peer review of research, another benefit of attending the fall AGU meeting is the exposure to new products, techniques, and research being done by others. Eleven of HVO's personnel were involved as authors or co-authors of 20 papers given at this year's conference.

Research conducted in Hawaii is often featured at the AGU meetings. Last year, there were three sessions on "Mauna Loa - A Decade Volcano," and in 1992, two sessions were devoted to the "South Flank of the Island of Hawaii." In 1991, "Kīlauea: A Dynamic Volcanological Laboratory" was the subject of lectures delivered at three of the sessions.

The highlight of the AGU Fall Meeting is the Honors ceremony where distinguished scientists who attain acknowledged eminence in their field are recognized as Fellows of the American Geophysical Union. This year, 18 members were inducted as Fellows, and David Clague, Scientist-in-Charge of HVO, was one of those honored. He usually writes this column, but as he is still away, we can report on his achievement and the recognition accorded him by his peers without his protestations.

Volcano Activity Update

As if in acknowledgment of the scientists who study it, Kīlauea Volcano put on a spectacular display of lavacascading over Paliuli late this week. Three separate lobes of lava flowed down the steep slope just above the coastal flats and provided viewers at the end of the Chain of Craters road in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park with a memorable sight. Flow activity continues as of this writing, but at a diminished level.

The south flank of Kīlauea also reminded us of its noteworthiness as the most seismically active piece of real estate in the United States. On Thursday afternoon, it was the origin of two felt earthquakes. At 2:59 PM, a magnitude 4.0 earthquake was felt by residents throughout Hilo, Puna, and Volcano, and this was followed three minutes later by a magnitude 3.6 aftershock. Both earthquakes were located about 12 miles southeast of HVO at a depth of 5 miles. There were no reports of damage or injuries. The seaward movement of the south flank block to accommodate increasing magma pressure in the east rift zone of Kīlauea is the probable mechanism for the earthquakes.