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Hawaiian Volcanoes: 100 Years of Scientific Research and Monitoring
Released: 8/16/2012 6:17:50 PM

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HAWAIʻI ISLAND, Hawaiʻi — More than 150 volcanologists from around the world will gather on the Island of Hawai`i on August 19-24, to participate in “Hawaiian Volcanoes: From Source to Surface,” a Chapman Conference convened by the American Geophysical Union.  

As part of a year-long commemoration of the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s 100th anniversary, the conference provides an unparalleled opportunity for scientists to reflect on how far their understanding of Hawaiian volcanoes has come since HVO was founded in 1912.  Conference participants will also look to the future, identifying the remaining questions about Hawaiian volcanoes and the direction volcano research should take to answer them. 

“Our 50th state is a volcanologist's ideal natural laboratory, with frequent eruptions which allow experts to study volcano dynamics in action,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “This conference brings together those who have contributed most to our understanding of Hawaiian-type volcanism to celebrate how far we have advanced over the last century and to chart a course for where we need to go.” 

Conference presenters are USGS scientists, including current and former HVO staff and HVO Scientists-in-Charge, as well as University of Hawai`i researchers and other U.S. and international volcanologists.  Presentations are organized to follow magma from its mantle source, along its transport through subvolcanic plumbing systems, to eruption at the surface, with the final day devoted to discussions of future plans and how research in Hawaiʻi can advance the understanding of volcanic processes elsewhere in the world.  

News media representatives are invited to attend the conference presentations, which will be held at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott, 69-275 Waikoloa Beach Drive, Waikoloa Beach, Hawai`i.  There is no cost to media, but on-site registration is required. 

Highlights of USGS presentations at the conference are listed below.

Sessions take place in Naupaka Rooms I, II, III, and IV in the Waikoloa Beach Marriott: 

Sunday, Aug. 19

5:00-6:00 p.m.

Title:  The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory / Highlights of Kilauea’s Recent Eruption Activity

Presenters:  Jim Kauahikaua, USGS (HVO Scientist-in-Charge) and Tim Orr, USGS (HVO geologist)

Summary:  A brief synopsis of HVO’s founding in 1912 and its accomplishments during the past 100 years, followed by an overview of Kilauea Volcano’s ongoing east rift zone and summit eruptions. 

Monday, Aug. 20

8:45-9:30 a.m.

Title:  Hawaiian Volcano Observatory: Its First 100 Years Of Advancing Volcanology

Presenter:  Robert I. Tilling, USGS (former HVO Scientist-in-Charge)

Summary:  An introduction to 100 years of volcano monitoring in Hawaii—how Thomas A. Jaggar’s vision led to the founding of HVO in 1912 and the observatory’s contributions to the understanding volcanic processes in Hawai`i and elsewhere during the past century. 

4:00-4:45 p.m.

Title:  Growth of the Island of Hawaiʻi: Deep-Water Perspectives

Presenter:  Peter Lipman, USGS

Summary:  Underwater studies of Hawaiian volcanoes during the past 25 years have provided new perspectives on the growth of intraplate ocean-island volcanoes.  New data show that the evolutionary stages during volcano growth on Hawaiʻi Island have varied more than previously recognized.

Wednesday, Aug. 22

7:45- 8:30 p.m.

Title:  Hawaiian Pillow Lavas

Conference Dinner Keynote Speaker:  James Moore, USGS (former HVO Scientist-in-Charge) and Lee Tepley, Cinematographer

Summary:  As lava entered the sea during Kilauea’s 1969-1974 Mauna Ulu eruption, the first underwater film of pillow lava formation was captured by Moore and Tepley, who will talk about their experiences and show footage of submarine lava flows. 

Thursday, Aug. 23

1:30-2:15 p.m.

Title:  Eruptions and Degassing

Presenters:  Current and former HVO scientists

Summary:  Technical presentations about Kilauea’s gas emissions, the effect of Kilauea eruptions on Mauna Loa, and tephra deposits from high-energy Kilauea eruptions. 

4:00-4:45 p.m.

Title:  Effusive and Explosive Cycles at Kilauea: What do They Mean? 

Presenter:  Don Swanson, USGS (HVO geologist)

Summary:  Swanson will describe cycles of explosive and effusive eruptions lasting centuries at Kilauea, speculate on what might be causing them, and touch on the hazards of long-lasting explosive periods.

Friday, Aug. 24


Title:  A 200-year look at Hawaiian volcanism—the last and the next 100 years

Presenter:  David Clague, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (former HVO Scientist-in-Charge)

Summary:  An overview of the as yet unanswered questions about how Hawaiian volcanoes work, the direction of future volcano research, and the next generation of volcanologists and their role in improving our understanding of volcanic behavior.


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