Live Teleconference with HSES AIM Class February 6. 2009
Aloha from the summit of Kīlauea Volcano! My name is Janet, and I work at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
Aloha from the summit of Kīlauea Volcano! My name is Janet, and I work at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. • Why did you become a volcanologist? • How long have you been a volcanologist? • What did you have to study to become a volcanologist? How long did it take? • Do you use science and math in your work?
What part of Hawai‘i do you live in? • How many volcanoes are in Hawai‘i? x
What is the oldest volcano on Hawai‘i Island? What is the youngest? • How tall is Mauna Loa? • What is the tallest volcano in Hawai‘i? • What kind of volcanoes do you study? • What is your favorite volcano?
Halema‘uma‘u Crater Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō
Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō (east rift) eruption 26 years and still going – 1983 to present
Have you seen a volcano erupt? If so, when and where? • How close have you been to lava?
Halema‘uma‘u (summit) eruption March 2008 to present
HVO Halema‘uma‘u Crater X
Georgia Hawai‘i Other questions?
Why would someone want to become a volcanologist? • What kind of equipment do you need to climb a volcano? • What is the most familiar piece of equipment to you? • What is the biggest (tallest?) composite volcano? • What is the oldest volcano in the world? When did it last erupt? • How tall are volcanoes? • Why do volcanoes exist? • What is the most commonly known volcano?
Video of explosive eruption Since it opened in March, the new summit vent in Halema‘uma‘u Crater has erupted explosively eight times. The seventh—and largest—explosive eruption to date occurred at 7:28 a.m. on October 12. This image was pulled from video of the October 12 explosive eruption captured by HVO cameras, which record the Halema‘uma‘u vent around the clock. • You can view a video clip of the October 12 explosive eruption on the HVO Web site at: • http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/kilauea/update/archive/2008/Oct/Oct122008_0728event_x3speed.mov • NOTE: • If you have trouble opening the link above, go to the HVO Web site at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov – • on the Home page menu, go to Kīlauea and click on “Eruption Update” • at the top of the Update page, click on “images” and scroll down to October 12 • click on the image to open the video (If video is not there, click on “Image Archive” below yellow bar near the top of • the images page, go to correct time period, and then scroll down to October 12.)
Janet checking out an eruption site on Kīlauea’s east rift zone in 2004 Why would someone want to become a volcanologist? • If you asked 10 people why they became volcanologists, you’d probably get 10 different answers. However, I think we all share some common traits: • a keen interest in science and nature, as well as the technology used to monitor volcanoes • a fascination with volcanoes and a curiosity about how and why they erupt • a desire to work outdoors (studying volcanoes can involve a lot of hiking) • a passion for a dynamic work environment (on active volcanoes, things can change quickly and often; in other geologic processes, change usually occurs quite slowly)
What kind of equipment do you need to climb (work on) a volcano? • These 3rd graders from a local school are modeling some of the gear we use to work on an active volcano (from left to right): • helmet and Nomex flight suit (when we fly in a helicopter to reach remote sites on the volcano) • Nomex hood and heavy gloves protect us from the intense heat when we sample molten lava with a rock hammer; orange vest makes us more visible in the field • hard hat protects us from rock fragments erupted into the air; gas mask protects us from volcanic fumes (sulfur dioxide is our greatest concern); yellow Nomex long-sleeve shirt for visibility and protection from hot lava; gloves protect our hands while hiking across lava rock, which is very rough and jagged • (Nomex is a special flame-resistant fabric used by firefighters, race-car drivers, volcanologists, and others who need protection from heat or flames) What is the most familiar piece of equipment to you? I use all the gear you see above when working in the field. In the office, computers are the main equipment I use.
Nevado Ojos del Salado What is the biggest (tallest?) composite volcano? How tall are volcanoes? Rising to an elevation of 22,600 feet, Nevado Ojos del Salado in the Andes (on the border of Chile and Argentina) is listed as the tallest volcano in the world. However, “tallest” is not the same as “biggest.” Mauna Loa volcano in Hawai‘i is the largest volcano on Earth. It rises 13,700 feet above sea level, but from sea floorto summit, it is more than 30,000 feet high. For lots more information about volcanoes around the world, go to the Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program Web site at: http://www.volcano.si.edu/faq/ To give you an idea of Mauna Loa’s huge size, compare its profile to a profile of Mount Rainier, one of the larger Cascade Range composite volcanoes, drawn at the same scale.
What is the oldest volcano in the world? When did it last erupt? This is a difficult question to answer. It depends on if you are asking about the oldest volcanic cone or the oldest volcanic rocks. For example, the oldest volcanic rocks on the island of Kauai are about 5 million years old, but there’s not a feature on Kauai that you would recognize as a “volcano” because it has been severely eroded. The oldest volcanic rocks on Hawai‘i Island are about 750,000 years old. Volcanoes associated with the Great Rift Valley in East Africa are also old, but I’m not sure if they’re the oldest. This rift is on a divergent plate boundary. The Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program Web site would be a good place to find information about ages of volcanoes. http://www.volcano.si.edu/faq/ Why do volcanoes exist? Why volcanoes exist—as well as their locations and ages—is related to plate tectonics. Magma makes it way to the surface at plate boundaries (Cascade Range, Andes, Aleutians) or above hot spots (Hawai‘i and Yellowstone).
What is the most commonly known volcano? The answer to this question depends on where you live—and how active a volcano is. For those of us living in the United States, we are most familiar with Hawaiian volcanoes (e.g., Kīlauea and Mauna Loa), Cascade Range volcanoes (e.g., Mount St. Helens and Mt. Rainier), and Alaskan volcanoes (e.g., Redoubt, Spurr, and Augustine). However, when a volcano erupts or starts showing signs of unrest—no matter where it’s located—it makes news around the world. People are fascinated by volcanoes, particularly when they erupt. Recent activity on Redoubt Volcano in Alaska. USGS image taken on January 31, 2009.