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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Lava bubble burst explosion, Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai‘i...
October 5, 1988

Lava bubble burst explosion, Kīlauea, Hawai‘i

A thin-walled lava bubble expands and bursts. These "bubble bursts" occur when seawater infiltrates the lava tube system near the shore. Such bubble bursts produce translucent sheets of spatter, or limu o Pele.

Glacial end moraine deposits on south flank of Mauna Kea, Hawai‘i...
July 11, 1988

Glacial end moraine deposits on south flank of Mauna Kea, Hawai‘i

Glacial end moraine deposits on south flank of Mauna Kea, Hawai‘i

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.

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USGS
November 26, 1999

The Saddle Road to Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) might seem noticeably more worn this month.

USGS
November 18, 1999

Here's a question for you trivia aficionados. Since written records began in 1823, what is the longest period of time without an eruption in Kīlauea's caldera? 

USGS
November 11, 1999

Kīlauea's south slope presents a spectacular drive by motorcar because the highway descends steeply to reach the coastal plain.

USGS
November 4, 1999

In 1916, Thomas Jaggar, renowned scientist and founder of HVO, wrote, in a foreword to "Hawaiian Legends of Volcanoes" by Westervelt, that "Everything indicates that Kīlauea is older than Mauna Loa. Mauna Loa with its flows is tending through the ages to bury up Kīlauea?." 

USGS
October 28, 1999

Many visitors come to the summit of Kīlauea, take a quick look into the caldera, say, "Hmmm, that's nice," shrug their shoulders, and move on. All they see is a hole in the ground, big to be sure, but not something that jumps out and grabs them.

USGS
October 21, 1999

For the past two months, reports of large earthquakes and the havoc they cause seem to be constantly in the news. Earthquakes in Turkey, Taiwan, Mexico, and California have made the front pages and the nightly television newscasts. Is world-wide earthquake activity increasing?
 

USGS
October 14, 1999

At the end of their shield-building stage, the summits of Hawaiian volcanoes commonly have large collapsed areas called calderas. Both Kīlauea and Mauna Loa have these summit calderas. After this stage, Hawaiian lava rapidly changes chemistry and evolves into a more pasty form.

USGS
October 7, 1999

For the past two weeks, people have been asking, "Why isn't the eruption going at full speed?," and "Why isn't lava going into the ocean?"
 

USGS
September 30, 1999

The last two editions of this column have dealt with the intrusion of magma into the upper east rift zone of Kīlauea on September 12 and with the aftereffects of that event. The story continues to unfold this week, with the resumption of lava flows from Pu`u `O`o.
 

USGS
September 23, 1999

One of the ways we monitor Kīlauea's activity is by studying the release of volcanic gases. Gases like sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide are trapped (dissolved) in magma at depth, where pressures within the Earth's crust and mantle are very great-many thousands of pounds per square inch.

USGS
September 16, 1999

Lava and lightning occasionally ignite fires in Hawaiian forests and shrublands where grass or other fine plant fuels are abundant and when the weather is dry and windy. Fires probably burned infrequently and over small areas before Polynesians colonized the islands and began to use fire to open areas for agriculture.

USGS
September 12, 1999

Starting about 1:31 Sunday morning, September 12, a swarm of small earthquakes and associated volcanic tremor began at Kīlauea Volcano.