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Date published: October 15, 2009

Volcano Watch — One Man's Soil Is Another Man's Ash, Especially Around Pāhala

"Pahala Ash," named for the town of Pahala, refers to soil deposits along the southeast portion of the island of Hawai`i. Pahala Ash was described by several early investigators and, eventually, the term came to be used for ashes from Kohala to Ka Lae at South Point.

Date published: October 8, 2009

Volcano Watch — Kīlauea's Emissions and Their Effects: It's All about Location

A common saying in the real estate business is that three things matter regarding property: "location, location, location." The same might be said about the effects of Kīlauea's irritating sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions and resulting vog. It's all about location.

Date published: September 10, 2009

Volcano Watch — Putting Kīlauea's Current Activity in Perspective

Dr. Thomas L. Wright, former Scientist-in-Charge of HVO, spent the last two weeks in Hawai`i exchanging ideas and information with HVO scientists.

Date published: August 27, 2009

Volcano Watch — Simple Tools Measure Amount of Volcanic Ash from Halema`uma`u

What do 10 plastic buckets, a 1.5-inch paint brush, a small funnel, two restaurant heat lamps, and a simple weighing scale have in common? These common gadgets are all scientific tools used to measure how much volcanic ash is coming out of Halema`uma`u every day.

Date published: August 13, 2009

Volcano Watch — Kīlauea's Summer Break Pau for Now?

While baseball fans nationwide at this time of year think about "trades" in terms of swapping average for exceptional ball players, we here in Hawai`i rely on "trades" (northeasterly trade winds) for dispersing volcanic emissions from the active vents on Kīlauea Volcano.

Date published: July 16, 2009

Volcano Watch — A Laser's Look into the Lua Reveals How Pit Craters Grow

This month, researchers from the University of Hawai`i teamed up with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory staff to use laser-based technology to peer into the depths of a new pit in Halema`uma`u.

Date published: July 9, 2009

Volcano Watch — The Show Goes on at Kīlauea's Summit Vent

Alert readers of this column and the Kīlauea daily update (posted every morning at will know that the past month has been an impressive one at the summit of the volcano.

Date published: July 2, 2009

Volcano Watch — Enjoy Nature's Fireworks Show

As we get ready to enjoy Independence Day fireworks, Pele has been giving scientists at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory some spectacular displays of lava activity within Halema`uma`u Crater.

Date published: July 1, 2009

USGS HVO Press Release — Glow from The Halema‘uma‘u Overlook Vent Snuffed Out by Collapse

A sequence of rockfalls, some quite large, within the Halema‘uma‘u vent at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano began at 1:38 p.m. H.s.t on June 30, 2009. 

Date published: June 25, 2009

Volcano Watch — The Beginning of a New Era—Kīlauea's 1952 Summit Eruption

The HVO Web site was recently revamped to make access to our increasing number of Webcams easier.

Date published: June 4, 2009

Volcano Watch — New Webcam Menu Makes Lava Views Safely Available

The HVO Web site was recently revamped to make access to our increasing number of Webcams easier for viewers and the HVO staff who post Webcam images. All HVO Webcams are now linked through a single menu at

Date published: May 28, 2009

Volcano Watch — Magma Within Kīlauea's Summit Vent Never Goes Flat

Two weeks ago, readers of this column learned about the genesis of brown plumes and sudden gas release from Kīlauea's summit vent. This week we will continue that exploration, looking farther into Kīlauea's magma plumbing system to explain why the summit vent has become a long-lived feature of the volcano.