March 5, 2014, marked the third anniversary of the onset of Kilauea Volcano’s four-day-long Kamoamoa fissure eruption. This brief episode marked the end of the eruptive vent established east of Puu Oo in 2007 and presaged a return of activity to Puu Oo that continues today.
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Soon after a large earthquake occurs, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory publicizes the preliminary location and magnitude. Have you ever wondered why the location and magnitude of the event sometimes change? Or why it may take awhile to provide the final “reviewed” earthquake report on our website?
Ask a child to draw a volcano, and he or she will likely sketch a cone-shaped mountain erupting lava high into the air — with possibly a dinosaur or two thrown in for good measure. An older child might include a red blob under the mountain representing the volcano’s magma chamber. This child may be on his or her way to becoming a volcanologist. One of the most fundamental questions of volcanology today is: “How big is that red blob under the mountain?”
While most football fans have recovered from Super Bowl XLVIII, the most exciting time of year is just beginning for sled-dog-racing enthusiasts. As this article goes to press, the final finishers of the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest sled-dog race will have traversed the rugged Alaskan interior and crossed the finish line in Yukon, Canada.
We conclude our Volcano Awareness Month series on the important questions about how Hawaiian volcanoes work with an article on monitoring volcanic activity.
In our January Volcano Watch articles — Hawaii Island’s fifth annual Volcano Awareness Month — we are exploring important questions about how Hawaiian volcanoes work. Last week, we discussed how Hawaiian islands grow; this week, we talk about how they fall apart.
In this second of four Volcano Watch articles addressing the “big” questions faced by volcanologists studying Hawaii volcanoes today, we will focus on some notions about how Hawaii Island may have been constructed.
Welcome to Hawaii Island’s fifth annual Volcano Awareness Month. Throughout January, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, in cooperation with Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, University of Hawaii at Hilo and Hawaii County Civil Defense, will offer public talks across the island. For more information about each talk, go to HVO’s website, hvo.wr.usgs.gov.
On Friday, Kilauea’s Puu Oo eruption surpassed 31 years of activity. The ongoing eruption has evolved tremendously during its complex history. While it is impossible to recount in detail every episode of this long-lived east rift zone eruption in a Volcano Watch article, we mark its anniversary with a recap of highlights through the years.
During the course of an eruption, a volcano can produce a variety of hazards, such as lava flows, pyroclastic flows and lahars, volcanic mud flows. Latent hazards may exist for years after an eruption ends, and can reappear, seemingly out of nowhere, with deadly consequences — which is what happened in New Zealand 60 years ago.
The gas emissions from Kilauea volcano have been variable within a fairly steady range for the past few years; however, the numbers we use to characterize and report the emission rates will increase dramatically in 2014. This change in numbers is the result of using more accurate techniques to measure those emission rates and is not a change in the emission rates themselves.
Last week we showed that Kilauea has explosive eruptions that can carry volcanic ash, less than 0.08 inch across, and small lapilli, 0.08 to 2.5 inches across, high into the sky. Today we track the flight of two small lapilli, one confined to the trade winds and one rising higher.
In past Volcano Watches, we’ve emphasized a radically new way to view Kilauea — as an explosive volcano. Though not explosive now, it was dominantly explosive during 60 percent, or 1,500 years, of the past 2,500 years. Its latest major period of explosiveness lasted 300 years between the dawn of the New World and the Napoleonic era, which ended in 1815.
At the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, we focus on keeping up with the flow of data coming into our systems and servers from HVO’s monitoring networks and instruments. But we also take time each November to recognize the anniversaries of two significant Hawaiian earthquakes that are both important to remember, even as we pore over new data.
We are currently sandwiched between the Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays as the inexorable march of time brings the winter festivals ever closer. For Hawaii, this period also signals the time of year when interruptions in the trade winds become more common.