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Scientific report on Kilauea eruption examines data

  • COURTESY USGS HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY

    A U.S. Geological Survey scientist watched the glow of the fissure 8 fountain and channel in Leilani Estates in July as steam rose from cracks and hot spots surrounding the cone. Scientists observed the cone and channel day and night during the 2018 eruption to track changes that could lead to significant breakouts beyond the established flow field.

  • COURTESY USGS HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY

    A fisheye lens photograph shows a USGS geologist making observations of the fissure 8 lava channel at sunset on July 3.

  • COURTESY USGS HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY

    Unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, and other emerging technology were used by scientists to monitor and measure volcanic activity during last year’s eruption. The drone pictured flew a gas-measuring instrument along the rift zone to determine concentrations of volcanic gases rising from the now-inactive fissures.

  • COURTESY USGS HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY

    An aerial photo show fissure 8 and Leilani Estates as viewed from the south. The steam was caused by rain hitting warm deposits of lava.

  • COURTESY USGS HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY

    A collapse explosion event occurred at the Kilauea summit at 1:20 p.m. July 5, releasing energy equivalent to a magnitude-5.2 earthquake. The shaking produced rockfall from Halemaumau’s steep crater walls, as viewed from a temporary observation post at Volcano House.

What triggered last year’s devastating eruption of Kilauea remains a mystery, but a new report by scientists who witnessed the historic event suggests a possible rupturing of a barrier within the volcano’s middle East Rift Zone may have opened the way for magma to reach populated areas in Lower Puna. Read more

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