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California Volcano Observatory

Find U.S. Volcano

As a part of the U.S. Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program, the California Volcano Observatory aims to advance scientific understanding of volcanic processes and lessen the harmful impacts of volcanic activity in the volcanically active areas of California and Nevada. 

The U.S. Geological Survey California Volcano Observatory (USGS CalVO) was formed in 2012 and is headquartered in Menlo Park and Moffett Field, CA. It replaced the former Long Valley Observatory (LVO), which was established in 1982 to monitor the restless Long Valley Caldera and Mono-Inyo Craters region of Eastern California. CalVO now monitors these and other potentially hazardous volcanoes in California and Nevada to help communities and government authorities understand, prepare for, and respond to, volcanic activity. 

Sixteen young volcanoes designated as Low Threat to Very High Threat are dispersed throughout the State. Partially molten rock (magma) resides beneath at least seven of these—Medicine Lake Volcano, Mount Shasta, Lassen Volcanic Center, Clear Lake Volcanic Field, the Long Valley Volcanic Region, Coso Volcanic Field, and Salton Buttes— producing volcanic earthquakes(seismicity), toxic gas emissions, hot springs, and (or) ground movement (deformation).



When it comes to calderas, how big is big?


Getting sphere-ious about spherulites


USGS volcano scientists visit Long Valley


California’s exposure to volcanic hazards

The potential for damaging earthquakes, landslides, floods, tsunamis, and wildfires is widely recognized in California. The same cannot be said for volcanic eruptions, despite the fact that they occur in the state about as frequently as the largest earthquakes on the San Andreas Fault. At least ten eruptions have taken place in the past 1,000 years, and future volcanic eruptions are inevitable.The

Margaret Mangan, Jessica Ball, Nathan Wood, Jamie L. Jones, Jeff Peters, Nina Abdollahian, Laura Dinitz, Sharon Blankenheim, Johanna Fenton, Cynthia Pridmore

Database for potential hazards from future volcanic eruptions in California

More than 500 volcanic vents have been identified in the State of California. At least 76 of these vents have erupted, some repeatedly, during the past 10,000 yr. Past volcanic activity has ranged in scale and type from small rhyolitic and basaltic eruptions through large catastrophic rhyolitic eruptions. Sooner or later, volcanoes in California will erupt again, and they could have serious impact

Melissa N. White, David W. Ramsey, C. Dan Miller