Unified Interior Regions

Hawaii

The Pacific Region has nine USGS Science Centers in California, Nevada, and Hawaii. The Regional Office, headquartered in Sacramento, provides Center oversight and support, facilitates internal and external collaborations, and works to further USGS strategic science directions.

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Pu‘umaKAHAKOkanaka, northeast flank of Mauna Kea, Hawai‘i...
July 11, 1988

Pu‘umaKAHAKOkanaka, NE flank of Mauna Kea, Hawai‘i

12,398 ft elev according to USGS Geographic Names Information System

Upper south flank of Mauna Kea, Hawai‘i. Prominent cinder cone (low...
July 11, 1988

Upper south flank of Mauna Kea, Hawai‘i. Prominent cinder cone (low...

Pu‘u Keonehehe‘e and the two small cones immediately to the northwest (left) are among the youngest cones erupted on the volcano, as recent as about 4,000 years ago. The other cones in this view are part of the Laupahoehoe Volcanics, but much older, dating to 70,000 years ago. The light colored surface between the cones consists of glacial deposits with ages between 40,000

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Northeast flank Mauna Kea, Hawai‘i from about 5,200 ft to summit. P...
July 11, 1988

Northeast flank Mauna Kea, Hawai‘i from about 5,200 ft to summit. P...

The light colored lava flows in foreground are part of the older Laupahoehoe Volcanics, erupted between 70,000 to 13,000 years ago. one of the youngest cinder cones erupted by the volcano,

Tephra jet explosion, Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai‘i...
February 3, 1988

Tephra jet explosion, Kīlauea, Hawai‘i

Explosive interaction between lava and seawater blasts a tephra jet consisting of steam, hot water, black tephra, and molten fragments into the air. This explosion is directed primarily toward the sea, but many explosions also send a shower of lava more than 10 to 20 m inland. Tehpra jets are the most common type of lava-seawater explosion, and typically occur when an open

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Glowing lava flowing down a stream channel with tall rock banks.People watch from the bank tops.
March 31, 1987

Lava flow enters Queens Bath, Kilauea Volcano, 1987

Bystanders watch steam rising from Queens Bath as lava flow enters the water. Lava overran Highway 130 at 0748 Hawaii Standard Time on the same morning at the western margin of the Kapa'ahu flow. By the end of the day, Punalu'u heiau was overrun, and Queens Bath was filled with lava.

Photo taken from the air, looking down on red hot lava fountaining up from a vent, then running in red channels down a slope.
April 22, 1985

Aerial view of waning lava fountain, Kilauea Volcano, 1985

Aerial view, from the east, of waning lava fountain from Pu'u 'O'o on Hawai'i Island's Kilauea Volcano. Taken at the end of eruption episode 32. Pu'u 'O'o rose 209 meters above the pre-1983 surface (928 meters above sea level).

Image: Aerial View of Mauna Loa Volcano, Hawaii
January 9, 1985

Aerial View of Mauna Loa Volcano, Hawaii

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists monitor Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano on Earth. In this 1985 aerial photo, Mauna Loa looms above Kīlauea Volcano’s summit caldera (left center) and nearly obscures Hualālai in the far distance (upper right).

Attribution: Natural Hazards
Lava fountain 450 m (1,475 ft) high from Kīlauea Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō eruption...
September 19, 1984

Lava fountain 450 m (1,475 ft) high from Kīlauea Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō eruption...

Lava fragments ejected by lava fountains are called tephra, a general term for all fragments, regardless of size, that are blasted into the air by explosive activity. A variety of terms are also used to describe specific types of fragments, including Pele's hair, Pele's tears, scoria, spatter, bombs, and reticulite. Other terms are used to describe the size of fragments,

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Low lava fountains from 1984 Mauna Loa "2,900-m vents" signaled dec...
April 8, 1984

Low lava fountains from 1984 Mauna Loa "2,900-m vents" signaled dec...

Lava production from these "2,900-m vents" began to decrease in late March but declined most rapidly between April 7 and 9 from about 300,000 m3 per hour to less than 100,000 m3 per hour. Photo taken at 9:09 a.m.

Lava flows from the 1984 eruption of Mauna Loa loom above the town ...
April 4, 1984

Lava flows from the 1984 eruption of Mauna Loa loom above the town ...

Lava flows from the 1984 eruption of Mauna Loa loom above the town of Hilo. Photograph taken near the Hilo airport on April 4.

April 2, 1984

Mauna Loa Lava Flow, April 2, 1984

A USGS scientist walks along a lava flow from the April 2, 1984 Mauna Loa eruption. The scientist stops to observe a standing wave of lava at the end. The lava flow is moving at 64 km/hr (40 mph) towards Hilo, Hawai'i. 
 

Lava fountains erupting from fissure on upper northeast rift zone o...
March 25, 1984

Lava fountains erupting from fissure on upper northERZ of Mauna Loa...

Pohaku Hanalei cinder-spatter cone (upper left) is located about 3.2 km (2 mi) NE from the north edge of the caldera rim. Eruption rates were as high as 2.9 million m3 per hour during the first 6 hours of the eruption, then diminished to about 0.5 million m3 per hour for the next 12 days. Sizable pahoehoe flows formed only during the first day of the eruption and within a

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USGS
July 5, 2001

A visitor recently asked, "Does Kīlauea erupt more often at the summit or along its two rift zones?" Let's try to answer that question.

USGS
June 28, 2001

A common sight this time of year, particularly in Puna and the National Park, is a bright yellow tripod topped with a white disk. Usually seen standing by the side of the road, these instruments are Global Positioning System (GPS) antennas, which scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory use to measure small ground motions. 

USGS
June 21, 2001

Few landscape changes are as extreme as that between the windward and leeward sides of Kīlauea's caldera. Simply drive from the Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park to the Southwest Rift pullout along Crater Rim Drive.

USGS
June 14, 2001

The hot-spot theory is the well-known modern explanation for the origin of the Hawaiian island chain. In it, the Pacific plate drifts northwestward over a relatively fixed hot spot. Magma generated by the heat then penetrates the plate and rises to the surface, leaving a string of volcanoes.

USGS
June 7, 2001

Kīlauea wasn't always like it is today. Two hundred thousand years and the change from a seamount to an island can do a lot to a volcano. The trick is to determine what those changes were.

USGS
May 31, 2001

HVO scientists have developed techniques to study conditions in the interior of active lava tubes and flows by making measurements on and above their surfaces. These techniques take advantage of the high temperature and electrical conductivity of molten lava.

USGS
May 24, 2001

The last couple of weeks have been exciting ones to be studying active volcanism in Hawai'i. To start with, after several months of fairly constant effusion of lava and gas, emissions of sulfur dioxide gas (SO2) doubled, seemingly overnight, then tripled over the next few days.

USGS
May 17, 2001

The basic strategy in monitoring a volcano has not changed much since 1912 when Thomas A. Jaggar founded HVO. He recognized the importance of measuring ground deformation, earthquakes, and gases. These three programs remain the essence of HVO's monitoring efforts - only the tools have changed. In today's column we focus on the evolution of methods to monitor slope changes or tilt.

USGS
May 10, 2001

On the night of June 1, 1950, after many residents of Ho`okena-mauka village in South Kona had already gone to bed, Mauna Loa began to erupt. Soon the roar of the lava fountains could be heard from Highway 11, 24 km (15 mi) away, as molten lava poured from fissures high on the volcano's southwest rift zone. In only three hours, an `a`a flow reached the highway and invaded the village.

USGS
May 3, 2001

A pair of devastating eruptions in the Caribbean 99 years ago this week shook the world and, as fate would have it, led indirectly to the founding of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

USGS
April 26, 2001

In last week's article we mentioned that April is tsunami awareness month in Hawai`i and earthquakeawareness month in California.

USGS
April 19, 2001

Early Monday morning, residents of the northern half of the island were awakened by a magnitude-3.9 earthquake. This was a gentle reminder that we live in one of most seismically active areas in the United States.