The USGS National Center in Reston, Virginia is hosting a collection of large-format photographs and geologic maps of several of the Nation's volcanoes. The exhibit is open to the public Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. through January 31, 2018.
Geologic map are labors of love for the USGS geologists who create them. For volcanologists, the goal is to reconstruct a volcano's eruption history back as far as a million years to determine the size and variety of hazardous phenomena that the volcano is capable of producing. This research leads to a better understanding of how volcanic eruptions start and end, and it informs USGS volcanologists about the required level of monitoring necessary at each volcano.
Mapping volcanoes involves meticulous fieldwork in rugged terrain and variable weather to define groups of volcanic deposits. Scientists preform careful laboratory work to determine the ages and chemistry of those depositional units. It can take up to 30 years to thoroughly research and publish a geologic map of a large volcanic complex.
Many of the volcanoes featured in the exhibit were the subject of a series of in depth field guides published throughout 2017. These guides can be downloaded and freely used to learn more about the geology and hazards of volcanic landscapes in the U.S.If you cannot visit the USGS National Center in person, you can view a gallery of images showcased in the exhibit.
A new documentary video about Kīlauea Volcano in Hawai‘i, with behind-the-scenes imagery of publicly inaccessible areas, is available from the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
Through historical photos of past Halema‘uma‘u eruptions and stunning 4K imagery of the current eruption, this 24-minute program tells the story of Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake—now one of the two largest lava lakes in the world. It begins with a Hawaiian chant that expresses traditional observations of a bubbling lava lake and reflects the connections between science and culture that continue on Kīlauea today.
The video briefly recounts the eruptive history of Halema‘uma‘u and describes the formation and continued growth of the current summit vent and lava lake. It features USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists sharing their insights on the summit eruption—how they monitor the lava lake, how and why the lake level rises and falls, why explosive events occur, the connection between Kīlauea's ongoing summit and East Rift Zone eruptions, and the impacts of the summit eruption on the Island of Hawai‘i and beyond.
In March 2008, a new volcanic vent opened within Halema‘uma‘u, a crater at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the Island of Hawai‘i. This new vent is one of two ongoing eruptions on the volcano. The other is on Kīlauea's East Rift Zone, where vents have been erupting nearly nonstop since 1983. The duration of these simultaneous summit and rift-zone eruptions on Kīlauea is unmatched in at least 200 years.
Since 2008, Kīlauea's summit eruption has consisted of continuous degassing, occasional explosive events, and an active, circulating lava lake. Because of ongoing volcanic hazards associated with the summit vent, including the emission of high levels of sulfur dioxide gas and fragments of hot lava and rock explosively hurled onto the crater rim, the area around Halema‘uma‘u remains closed to the public as of 2017.The new video documentary is published as USGS General Interest Publication 182, and is available on the USGS Youtube channel.