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Color graphic showing aerial imagery and geologic map
December 31, 2020

Comparing Kīlauea's summit before and after the 2018 collapse

This series of maps compares aerial imagery collected prior to Kīlauea's 2018 summit collapse and the "Geologic Map of the Summit Region of Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaii" (Dutton and others, 2007; Neal and others, 2003)—created before Kīlauea's 2018 summit collapse—with aerial imagery collected after the 2018 summit collapse and a preliminary update to Kīlauea's summit geologic

Color map of Kīlauea lower East Rift Zone
December 31, 2020

A map of the lower East Rift Zone of Kīlauea Volcano

A map of the lower East Rift Zone of Kīlauea Volcano showing the fissures and flow fields from the 1955 (blue) and 2018 (pink) eruptions. Portions of the 1955 lava flows that were covered during the 2018 eruption, are represented with a blue outline.

A scientists observes a volcano crater
April 6, 2020

A geologists makes observations at Kilauea

Clear weather allowed HVO geologists to make observations and take measurements of the water pond at Kīlauea's summit. No major changes were observed, and the water level continues to slowly rise. Note the former HVO observation tower can be seen above the geologist's helmet. 

Color photograph showing ash outcrop and two scientists
February 6, 2020

Scientists examine an outcrop of ash in Hilo

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists examine an outcrop of reddish-brown Hilo ash during a recent study to investigate the origins of volcanic ash deposits on the Island of Hawai‘i. Age dates of lava flows above and below the Hilo ash deposit indicate that the ash was erupted between 3,000 and 14,000 years ago. 

Scientist holds rope leading to Unoccupied Aircraft System
January 31, 2020

Unoccupied Aircraft System with water sampler

The sampling mechanism (on blue tarp) is prepared and the Unoccupied Aircraft System (UAS) is inspected just before take off to collect water from the Halema‘uma‘u crater lake. Brightly colored flagging tape tied to a cable attached to the UAS indicated depth as the sampling tool was lowered into the water. 

Color photograph of seismologist in field
January 30, 2020

Geophysicist Brian Shiro, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Geophysicist Brian Shiro, manager of the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory's seismic network, was part of HVO's team that installed several new stations on Kīlauea Volcano's lower East Rift Zone to monitor earthquakes during the 2018 eruption. The station they installed here, ERZ1, was eventually overrun by lava, but it provided important data while it lasted. 

January 28, 2020

Seismicity of the 2018 Kīlauea Volcano eruption

The 2018 Kīlauea eruption produced unprecedented levels of seismicity in the volcano’s instrumented history. The USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory documented about 80,000 earthquakes during the three-month-long eruption, starting with the dramatic collapse of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone on April 30 and ending with the final Kīlauea summit caldera collapse event on August 5. The

Color photograph of native Hawaiian plant and fluxmeter
January 24, 2020

Portulaca sclerocarpa and WEST Systems fluxmeter

This Portulaca sclerocarpa (‘Ihi mākole) individual (center) surrounded by invasive grass species is a critically endangered plant. The small metal tag to the right notes the plant's permanent identification number for long-term monitoring purposes. A WEST Systems fluxmeter (chamber at top) measures carbon dioxide emissions on the soil surface and a probe (black

Color photograph of scientists
January 24, 2020

Team investigating critically endangered plant in Puhimau Thermal area

Retired USGS botanist Linda Pratt, USGS research geologists Patricia Nadeau and Jennifer Lewicki, and USGS chemist Tamar Elias (left to right) are part of a team investigating a critically endangered succulent plant, Portulaca sclerocarpa, in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park's Puhimau thermal area. Invasive species, like the broomsedge grass shown here, may contribute

January 21, 2020

Kīlauea Lower East Rift Zone 2019: Quiet but insightful

In the year since Kīlauea Volcano’s notable 2018 eruption ended, the lower East Rift Zone has been relatively quiet. But USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists continue to gain insight into the eruption through ongoing research and monitoring. Some of the many questions asked by island residents include, Why did the fissures erupt along a linear pattern? How long

Color photograph showing summit of Kīlauea Volcano
January 17, 2020

Photograph of Kīlauea summit water

After days of rain, a window of clear weather allowed HVO geologists to make observations and take measurements of the water pond at Kīlauea's summit on January 17, 2020. No major changes were observed, and the water level continues to slowly rise. 

Brown pond
January 17, 2020

A close-up view of the Kilauea pond

A close-up view of the Kilauea pond shows the color variations across the surface, and sharp boundaries among zones of different color.