Volcano Watch — Student worker and volunteer programs at HVO

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As summer is quickly approaching, it seems appropriate to write about the student worker and volunteer programs at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. 

As summer is quickly approaching, it seems appropriate to write about the student worker and volunteer programs at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Funds from the U.S. Geological Survey's Minority Participation in the Earth Sciences (MPES) program allow us to hire six students from Hawaii Community College (HCC) and University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH). This summer, we will have two students from HCC's electronics program and four from UHH's geology and computer departments. In addition to being paid, the students also earn school credits if they are enrolled in the cooperative education program.

Since the inception of the MPES program at HVO in 1974, 131 students have helped us accomplish our mission. These students work with our staff members and are exposed to the latest technology and techniques employed in Earth science research. Although not all of the students pursue careers in the Earth sciences, the knowledge and skills that they acquire at HVO are applicable to any career.

The U.S. Geological Survey also has a well-established Volunteer for Science program, and HVO's program is probably one of the most popular. Last year, 57 individuals contributed 14,567 hours of their time working at HVO. Volunteers archive our photos, duplicate slides, build instruments in our machine shop, photocopy reports, monitor and map the active lava flows, assist with computer software and hardware, log water-well drilling, collect gas samples from fumaroles and vents, prepare and analyze samples in our labs, measure and document changes of the active volcanoes, and accompany our geologists and geophysicists in the field.

Volunteers range from undergraduate students to retired persons and come from around the world. Due to the time commitment for training by our staff, we only accept volunteers willing to work for three months or longer. The small size of our staff and of our dormitory limits the number of volunteers at any given time. Volunteers who are not from the Big Island are housed in a fully-furnished cottage located a few miles from the Observatory in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. They are responsible for their transportation, food, health, and incidental expenses.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, please write to us at: Volunteer Program, U.S. Geological Survey, P.O. Box 51, Hawaii Volcano National Park, HI 96718. Include information about your abilities, interests, and availability. Volunteers gain valuable experience while making important contributions to the programs of the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Volcano Activity Update

The current eruption of Kīlauea continues unabated, with three ocean entries between Kamokuna and Lae'apuki. The National Park Service has opened a trail at the end of the Chain of Craters road to allow visitors a better and closer view of the lava flow activity.

One earthquake was felt during the past week. A magnitude 3.1 temblor located 6 miles southeast of the summit of Mauna Kea was reported felt at 6:55 p.m. on April 16 by residents of Kona, Pa'auilo, and Honoka'a. It originated from a depth of 17 miles. No damage was reported as a result of the earthquake.