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VOG “Tasting Party” at the Lyman Museum

As Kīlauea’s current eruption continues to produce enough lava to fill a football stadium every week or so, it also releases huge amounts of volcanic gases, which are converted in the atmosphere to the vog (volcanic smog) that impacts our island environment.

Photo courtesy of Andrew J. Sutton showing volcanic gases boil out of the lava lake within Kilauea’s summit     “Overlook Vent,” to form the visible vog plume being carried to the southwest and up the Kona coast by trade winds in this 2008 USGS-HVO photograph.

Photo courtesy of Andrew J. Sutton showing volcanic gases boil out of the lava lake within Kilauea’s summit
“Overlook Vent,” to form the visible vog plume being carried to the southwest and up the Kona coast by trade winds in this 2008 USGS-HVO photograph.

On Monday, January 18, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Lyman Museum, Jeff Sutton, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory gas geochemist, tells us everything we always wanted to know about volcanic gases, vog, and how they affect people, land, and our island infrastructure. Jeff will also host a “volcanic gas tasting party” at which you can identify specific volcanic gases using your sense of smell!

The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated Lyman Museum showcases the natural and cultural history of Hawai`i. Located in historic downtown Hilo at 276 Haili Street, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Admission to this program is free to Museum members, $3 for nonmembers. For additional information, call (808) 935-5021 or visit www.lymanmuseum.org.

The VOG Measurement and Prediction Project (VMAP)

Have you ever wondered which way the VOG was blowing on the Big Island and how much Sulfur Dioxide is being emitted into the air?  Well the VOG Measurement and Prediction Project (VMAP) might be of assistance.

Is it possible or practical to predict vog? The Vog Measurement and Prediction Project (VMAP) is a feasibility study in which scientists will evaluate [are evaluating] whether vog forecasts are achievable and useful. Project collaborators are making the feasibility study available to the public through this Web site, but as an ongoing investigation, VMAP currently provides limited service and reliability. Thus, VMAP users should have no expectation of accuracy or timeliness, and project data should not be used for decision making purposes at this time. Comments and inquiries can be directed to the appropriate contact.

Vog is primarily a mixture of sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas and sulfate (SO4) aerosol. SO2 (invisible) reacts with oxygen and moisture in the air to produce SO4 aerosol (visible). SO2 is expected to be the main problem in areas near the vent (Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Pahala, Na`alehu, Hawaiian Ocean View Estates) and SO4 aerosol is expected to be the main problem at locations far from the vent (Kona and farther north and west).

Vog Model

The model output animation and accompanying forecast table is generated using the HYSPLIT numerical dispersion model. The model uses estimates of volcano emissions along with forecast winds to predict the concentrations of sulfur dioxide gas (SO2) and sulfate aerosol particles (SO4) downwind of the ongoing Kilauea eruption. This is a research effort that is in progress.

Click here for model statistics. For a history of the VMAP model parameters, click here.

Here is the what the Big Island is looking like: