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    May 2018
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January is “Volcano Awareness Month” in Hawaii

January 2015 is Hawaiʻi Island’s 6th annual “Volcano Awareness Month.”

A clear view today of Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s summit revealed no significant change during the past week. The cross-sectional area of the active lava stream in the tube on the flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō was the same as measured on December 22, suggesting no change in lava discharge from the vent. The central crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō formed over several days following the opening of eruptive fissures on June 27; the view is looking toward the west. The distance from the high point on the northwest rim to the south rim (cliff in top middle to lower left in this photo) is about 300 m (~980 ft). (Click to Enlarge)

A clear view today of Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s summit revealed no significant change during the past week. The cross-sectional area of the active lava stream in the tube on the flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō was the same as measured on December 22, suggesting no change in lava discharge from the vent. The central crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō formed over several days following the opening of eruptive fissures on June 27; the view is looking toward the west. The distance from the high point on the northwest rim to the south rim (cliff in top middle to lower left in this photo) is about 300 m (~980 ft). (Click to Enlarge)

With Kīlauea’s current lava flow impacting Puna residents, awareness is more essential than ever for us to live in harmony with the active volcanoes that are our island home.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, in cooperation with Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, and Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense, will provide a month-long series of programs about the volcanoes on which we live:

“At-a-Glance” Program Schedule

Program descriptions:

January 3, 2015, also marks the anniversary of Kīlauea’s ongoing East Rift Zone eruption, which began in 1983. During the past 32 years, lava flows have buried over 127 km2 (49 mi2) of public and private land, destroying 215 structures, 14 km (9 mi) of highway, and vast tracts of native forest. The ongoing destruction is a reminder of why it’s important to be aware of and understand how Hawaiian volcanoes work.

The History of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Explained – Volcano Awareness Month

The story of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this month, is the topic of an “After Dark in the Park” program in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on Tues., Jan. 17 at 7 p.m.

U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Scientist-in-Charge Jim Kauahikaua will talk about the founding of the observatory in 1912, as well as HVO’s achievements monitoring Hawaiian volcanoes and earthquakes during the past century.  His presentation will be held at the park’s Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium. Park entrance fees apply.

Thomas A. Jaggar founded the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory in 1912 and served as its Director until 1940. Shown here in 1925, Jaggar is at work in HVO’s first building, which, at the time, was located on the northeast rim of Kīlauea Volcano’s summit caldera, near the present-day Volcano House hotel. Today’s HVO Scientist-in-Charge presents the story of America’s first volcano observatory in a talk at the Kīlauea Visitor Center at 7 p.m. on Jan. 17.

The founding of HVO, America’s first volcano observatory, is attributed to Thomas A. Jaggar in the year 1912. But the study and monitoring of Kīlauea actually began in 1911 with Frank Perret, who came to Hawai‘i at the request of Jaggar.

Jaggar arrived at Kīlauea on Jan. 17, 1912, and immediately set forth monitoring earthquakes and changes in the shape of Kīlauea with the best tools available to him at the time: a few seismometers, some meteorological equipment, and a surveyor’s transit.

One hundred years later, HVO scientists in 2012 analyze data collected from more than 100 field stations, each of which consists of one to five instruments, including seismic, deformation, volcanic-gas, geologic, and other monitoring tools.  These stations transmit data to HVO around the clock, with a single instrument sending as much as 60 terabytes of data each year—more information than Jaggar could have imagined possible.

Kauahikaua will tell the story of HVO’s first 100 years, the various buildings and locations HVO has occupied, the legacy of HVO’s leaders, the evolution of volcano monitoring tools and techniques, and significant discoveries along the way.

HVO’s entire history is a lot of information to compress into a 45-minute presentation, but Kauahikaua says not to worry.  He is coauthor of a new USGS General Interest Product, “The Story of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory—A Remarkable First 100 Years of Tracking Eruptions and Earthquakes.”  One hundred paper copies of the publication will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to attendees at his talk.

The public is also invited to attend an Open House of the observatory in celebration of HVO’s centennial milestone.

“HVO is not ordinarily open to the public, so our Open House on Jan. 21 is a special opportunity for island residents and visitors to see how we monitor Hawaiian volcanoes and to interact with HVO scientists,” said Kauahikaua.

Kauahikaua’s presentation is one of many programs offered by HVO during Volcano Awareness Month and in celebration of HVO’s 100th anniversary in January 2012.  For details about this After Dark in the Park program, please call 808-985-6011.  More information about Volcano Awareness Month is posted on the HVO website at hvo.wr.usgs.gov.