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USGS HVO Press Release — Kīlauea's Volcanic Gases and Their Environmental Impacts

January 26, 2010

The public is invited to learn more about volcanic gas emissions and vog in a presentation by U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists Jeff Sutton and Tamar Elias. 

They will offer an update on the 2008–2010 changes in Kīlauea's gas release and associated environmental impacts on Friday, January 29, at 7:30 p.m., in the University Classroom Building (UCB), Room 100, at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Admission is free.

Kīlauea's current east rift zone eruption, well-known for producing enough lava to fill a football stadium every week, also releases huge amounts of potentially dangerous volcanic gas. In March 2008, Kīlauea gas emissions increased further when a new vent opened in Halema‘uma‘u Crater at the summit of the volcano.

The HVO scientists will also discuss how vog (volcanic smog) forms from Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō and Halema‘uma‘u gas emissions and suggest ways for residents and visitors to deal with this notable aspect of Kīlauea's two ongoing eruptions. At the close of the talk, an optional "gas sniffing" session will be offered, during which you can learn to safely recognize individual volcanic gases by smell.

This program is one of several scheduled in January as part of Volcano Awareness Month. For a calendar of other events, and more information about Hawaiian volcanoes, please visit the HVO Web site at

Daily updates about ongoing eruptions, recent images and videos of summit and East Rift Zone volcanic activity, maps, and data about recent earthquakes in Hawaii are posted on the HVO website at

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