Unified Interior Regions


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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Researcher measures the wing of a palila nestling
July 18, 2006

Researcher measures the wing of a palila nestling

A very young palila nestling is given unique color bands and it's body measurements are taken on Mauna Kea volcano, Hawai‘i Island, Hawai‘i. In a multi-decadal study of palila and the factors influencing their population, Dr. Paul Banko has studied the diet, movement, and nesting behavior of these critically

June 24, 2006

Lava Breakout from PKK Lava Tube at East Lae‘apuki

(June 24, 2006, 19:00:53 to June 25, 2006, 01:00:55) After sunset on June 24, 2006, lava burst from the PKK lava tube about 50 meters inland from the older sea cliff bounding the inboard edge of the East Lae‘apuki lava delta. Lava reached the sea cliff and began cascading over it in less than a minute, and it spread quickly across the lava delta below. The cascade was

June 3, 2006

Gas Pistons Within Drainhole Vent at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō

(June 2, 2006, 18:30:02 to June 3, 2006, 02:00:03) Gas-pistoning is an interesting phenomenon seen at Kīlauea and some other basalticvolcanoes. It is caused by the accumulation of gas near the top of the lava column within a volcanic vent (Swanson and others, 1979). The shallow accumulation of gas causes the lava surface to rise (the "piston"). Eventually, the gas breaches

May 29, 2006

Lava Tube Bubble Bursts on the East Lae‘apuki Lava Delta

(May 29, 2006, 10:45:46 to 19:30:49) The interaction of sea water and lava creates a volatile situation (Mattox and Mangan, 1997). When this happens inside the confined space of a lava tube, or a narrow, water-filled crack, the results can be impressive. In this movie, lava bubbles, bursting from the top of the PKK lava tube, put on quite a show for several hours. Some of

Large cracks in active lava delta, Kīlauea Volcano...
May 19, 2006

Large cracks in active lava delta, Kīlauea

Substantial cracks cutting across a lava delta are clear indication that the delta is subsiding as it grows across the unstable pile of interfingering lava flows and fragments built on the steep submarine slope. The larger cracks on this delta are 1-2 m (3-6 ft) wide. Lava flows spread onto the delta from some of the cracks and then, after solidifying, were cut by renewed

Active lava delta on southeast coast of Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai‘i...
May 19, 2006

Active lava delta on SE coast of Kīlauea, Hawai‘i

Lava delta at East Lae‘apuki on the southeast coast of Kīlauea Volcano is about 17 hectares (43 acres). The delta extends about 400 m seaward from the sea cliff and is about 850 m long parallel to the shoreline. The steep sea cliff embayment resulted from collapses of earlier deltas; the collapses undermined and took away parts of the cliff. Note similar inactive delta

Juvenile ‘i‘iwi in the hand
April 10, 2006

Multi-colored juvenile ‘i‘iwi

‘I‘iwi are one of the most charismatic Hawaiian honeycreepers extant today. Their long, curved bill allow them to reach nectar deep inside specially evolved Hawaiian flowers. As they mature, juvenile ‘i‘iwi will go from these mottled, multi-colored feathers to bright red coloration. 

March 22, 2006

Shatter Ring on the PKK Lava Tube

(March 20, 2006, 11:30:10 to March 22, 2006, 07:00:16) The flow field feature seen here in profile is a shatter ring. Shatter rings are circular to elliptical volcanic features, typically tens of meters in diameter, that form over active lava tubes (Kauahikaua and others, 2003; Orr, 2011) They are typified by an upraised rim of blocky rubble and a central depression.

US Army helicopter flies over the heads of researchers on Mauna Kea
February 23, 2006

US Army helicopter flies over the heads of researchers on Mauna Kea

A US Army helicopter from Pohakuloa Training Area flies overhead of palila researchers on Mauna Kea volcano, Hawai‘i Island, Hawai‘i. 

Poster laid out with photos, images, and text.
December 31, 2005

Mud Damages Hawaiian Coral Reefs

Large-scale poster describing USGS work.

Scientists from the USGS, the University of Hawaiʻi (UH), and the University of Washington (UW) are studying the coral reefs near several Hawaiian islands. Using air photos, satellite photos, underwater photos, and underwater instruments, we've found that mud washed offshore by large storms can damage coral reefs. Corals need

November 28, 2005

Lava Delta Collapse at East Lae‘apuki

At 11:10 in the morning on November 28, 2005, the lava delta at the East Lae‘apuki ocean entry, on Hawai‘i's southeastern coast, began to collapse into the ocean. This was not a catastrophic failure of the 13.8-hectare delta, but instead occurred by piecemeal calving of the front of the delta over a period of just less than 5 hours. The collapse removed nearly the entire

Nene adults and goslings in a grassy field
November 27, 2005

Nene adults and goslings

A mating pair of adult nēnē (Branta sandvicensis) keep a close watch on three young goslings. An endangered species and the state bird of Hawai‘i, nēnē are the last remaining species of Hawaiian goose.    

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September 20, 1996

The U.S. Geological Survey's Volcano Hazards Program funds the operations of three volcano observatories in the United States. They are the Hawaiian, Cascades, and Alaska Volcano Observatories, and, as their names imply, each is responsible for monitoring volcanoes in a specific geographic area.

Eruption status and shoreline hazards...
September 13, 1996

The current Kīlauea East Rift Zone eruption, which began in January 1983, continues without significant changes. 

September 6, 1996

The primary mission of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) is to evaluate earthquake and volcanic hazards and provide timely information to the various State and County officials responsible for emergency preparedness and response.

August 30, 1996

Lava flows can travel long distances if they develop insulating conduits for transporting fresh molten lava to the flowfront. These conduits are, of course, called lava tubes.

August 25, 1996

In a double handful of molten magma (weighing about a pound), there is less than a tenth of an ounce, by weight, of dissolved gas—roughly the same weight as a pinch of table salt. Yet this tiny amount of gas can drive spectacular lava fountains hundreds of feet into the air. 

August 16, 1996

Floating hydrophones and sonobuoys recorded the crackling and grinding noises that are often indicative of an ongoing submarine eruption, but the University of Hawaii Pisces V dive team and their USGS, Bishop Museum, and University of Washington collaborators found no red lava or active eruptive vents as they explored the underwater world of Lo`ihi volcano last week.

August 9, 1996

In response to the intense off-shore earthquake swarm that began on July 16, scientists at the University of Hawaii (UH) received funding for a research cruise to investigate possible changes at Lo`ihi.

A massive earthquake swarm at Lo`ihi Seamount...
August 2, 1996

It was only 42 years ago that Lo`ihi and four other seamounts were discovered during a bathymetric survey of the area south and southeast of the Big Island by the U.S.S. Patapsco.

Measuring the mountains: Ground deformation of Hawaii's volcanoes...
July 24, 1996

The ground's surface around the active Hawaiian volcanoes Kīlauea and Mauna Loa is constantly changing. Lava flows laminate their sides during active eruptions.

July 19, 1996

On Wednesday, July 17, a 10-year-old boy slipped into a large crack in the Sulphur Banks - Steaming Flats area of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Unfortunately, the crack was also a vent for steam, which scalded the young visitor and caused second-degree burns.

Kīlauea eruption status: the lava keeps on flowing...
July 12, 1996

The 13-year-old eruption along Kīlauea's East Rift Zone has continued unabated since the pause from May 30 to June 4. Over a period of 18 hours on May 29-30, lava gradually stopped issuing into the tube system from the vent on the flank of the Pu`u `O`o cone.

July 5, 1996

The long-standing eruption of Kīlauea Volcano continues unabated this week as lava tubes spill 14 million cubic feet of lava per day into the ocean at Kamoamoa on Hawaii's southeast coastline. Flows have inundated the area almost continuously since 1992.