Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

About the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

I ka nānā no a ‘ike.
(By observing, one learns)
‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs and Poetical Sayings by Mary Kawena Pukui

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on rim of Kīlauea Volcano's summit cal...

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on rim of Kīlauea Volcano's summit caldera overlooking Halema‘uma‘u Crater, Hawai‘i. (Public domain.)

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) is part of the U.S. Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program. HVO's mission is to monitor, investigate, and assess hazards from active volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawaii, and communicate results of this work to the public, emergency managers, and scientific community.

HVO and Jaggar Museum on Kīlauea Volcano's caldera rim, Hawai‘i...

HVO and Jaggar Museum on Kīlauea Volcano's caldera rim, Hawai‘i. (Public domain.)

HVO's staff has grown from one geologist (Thomas A. Jaggar) in 1912 to a team of about 25 people today. This team includes scientists and specialists in geology, geophysics, seismology, volcanic gases, computer technology, geophysical instruments and radio systems, administration, and media and public communication. Hundreds of volunteers have also provided valuable assistance to HVO through the years.

HVO's methods of observing and analyzing data from instruments and field studies have also changed since Jaggar's time, and today consist of more than 100 field stations with one or more instruments transmitting data 24 hours a day in order to track activity and support research into how volcanoes work.

HVO, established in 1912, was the first of the five volcano observatories supported by USGS today.