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Volcano Watch

Volcano Watch is a weekly article and activity update written by U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists and affiliates. 

Volcano Watch — Deciphering explosive behavior at Mauna Loa

Mauna Loa is known for its effusive eruptions that produce spectacular lava flows. However, some of the volcanic products found on Mauna Loa are pyroclastic or explosive in character. 

Volcano Watch — HVO erupts with gratitude for University of Hawaiʻi partners

Thanks to late Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo (UHH), and the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes (CSAV), a cooperative agreement with the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaiʻi (RCUH) was established in 1998.  

Volcano Watch — The legacy of Alexander Lancaster

Known to many as “Pele’s Grandson,” Alexander (“Alex” or “Alec”) Lancaster guided both tourists and scientists to Hawai‘i’s volcanoes for over forty years, from 1885 to 1928.  

Volcano Watch — Should old eruptions be forgot? Increase your volcano awareness this January

We traditionally spend the New Year singing “Auld Lang Syne,” a song that reminisces about times long past. For the first month of the New Year, staff at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), and hopefully you too, will reflect on past and ongoing eruptions during the annual Volcano Awareness Month.  

Volcano Watch — Infrared (IR) measurements help HVO scientists unravel Kīlauea’s gas chemistry

Most people in Hawai‘i know about sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas, the major component of vog.  But, have you ever found yourself wanting to know the SO2/HCl (sulfur dioxide/hydrogen chloride) ratio in volcanic gas? Or the amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) dissolved in volcanic glass? 

Volcano Watch — HVO’s ongoing recovery from the 2018 Kīlauea eruption

Communities on the Island of Hawai‘i continue to recover from Kīlauea’s 2018 lower East Rift Zone eruption and summit collapse as does the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO).

Volcano Watch — HVO innovation, 3D application

The electronics workshop at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) buzzes with creative activity. 

Volcano Watch — A cloud of ten thousand points: terrestrial laser scanning of Halemaʻumaʻu

Scientists at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) largely rely on aerial data collection for making maps of ongoing eruptions at Kīlauea. Most commonly, scientists collect a series of overlapping aerial photos (optical or thermal). 

Volcano Watch — The refilling of Halemaʻumaʻu crater

Halemaʻumaʻu crater has undergone repeated changes during the past two centuries. Prior to 1924, the size and shape of the Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake changed frequently and lava commonly spilled out across the floor of Kīlauea caldera.

Volcano Watch — 30 years of Volcano Watch

It’s hard to believe that the “Volcano Watch” weekly article and volcano activity update started 30 years ago. On November 3, 1991, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) “Volcano Watch” had its debut in the Hawaii Tribune-Herald, beginning a long and fruitful partnership. 

Volcano Watch — Tracking magma movement using olivine crystal “clocks”

Olivine crystals—the beautiful green mineral common in Hawaiian lavas—record when and where magmas move inside Hawaiian volcanoes before they erupt. We can actually use these little crystals like clocks to better understand the magmatic events leading to the December 2020 and September 2021 summit eruptions...

Volcano Watch — Pavlof: a volcano without typical signs of unrest?

Volcanoes commonly give us clues that they are going to erupt. Before an eruption, gas, magma, and other fluids move below the surface of a volcano and typically cause earthquakes. This movement can also create a signal called volcanic tremor, which can often be observed on local seismometers. Seismometers, which measure movement of the ground, are important tools for monitoring volcanic activity.