Volcano Update from Archive

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 09:11 HST (Wednesday, June 20, 2007 19:11 UTC)

19.43°N 155.29°W, Summit Elevation 4009 ft (1222 m)
Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

News Release
June 19, 2007 7:00 p.m. Jim Kauahikaua (808) 967-7328 jimk@usgs.gov

Hazardous Sulfur Dioxide Concentrations Measured at Kīlauea Volcano

Today, HVO scientists measured concentrations greater than 10 ppm in a broad area adjacent to Halema‘uma‘u crater. Sulfur Dioxide gas is persistently emitted at Kīlauea’s summit. Typical concentrations are generally negligible except for areas downwind of Halema‘uma‘u crater, where they can get up to 2.5 ppm (parts-per-million) in narrow zones.

When sulfur dioxide concentrations greater than 1 ppm (equal to 1,000 parts per billion) are measured at the Jaggar museum or at the Kīlauea Visitor’s Center, the buildings are closed and employees and visitors are advised to relocate to areas with cleaner air. See http://www2.nature.nps.gov/air/webcams/parks/havoso2alert/havoalert.cfm .

High sulfur dioxide concentrations have been blamed for several fatalities at other volcanoes; many of the victims had a history of asthma. The International Volcanic Health Hazard Network has compiled several studies indicating that 10-15 ppm concentrations of sulfur dioxide is a threshold of toxicity for prolonged exposure (http://www.esc.cam.ac.uk/ivhhn/guidelines/gas/so2.html).

HVO crews will continue to monitor the situation closely.

HVO will post updates at http://volcano.wr.usgs.gov/hvostatus.php.

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