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U.S. Volcanoes and Current Activity Alerts

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  • Mount Hood, Oregon, viewed from the northwest at Lost Lake.
    Mount Hood, Oregon, viewed from the northwest at Lost Lake.
    Mount Hood, Oregon, viewed from the northwest at Lost Lake.
  • Steaming dome of Mount St. Helens, Washington. Mount Hood, Oregon, in the distance.
    Steaming dome of Mount St. Helens, Washington. Mount Hood, Oregon, in the distance.
    Steaming dome of Mount St. Helens, Washington. Mount Hood, Oregon, in the distance.
  • Crater Lake half fills the caldera created by the 7,700 year ago eruption of Mount Mazama in Southern Oregon.
    Crater Lake half fills the caldera created by the 7,700 year ago eruption of Mount Mazama in Southern Oregon.
    Crater Lake half fills the caldera created by the 7,700 year ago eruption of Mount Mazama in Southern Oregon.
  • Lassen Volcanic Center, aerial view towards the south-southeast of the Lassen dome field, California.
    Lassen Volcanic Center, aerial view towards the south-southeast of the Lassen dome field, California.
    Lassen Volcanic Center, aerial view towards the south-southeast of the Lassen dome field, California.
  • Mount Adams viewed from the north at Muddy Meadows, Washington
    Mount Adams viewed from the north at Muddy Meadows, Washington
    Mount Adams viewed from the north at Muddy Meadows, Washington
  • PUUOO eruption from KILAUEA Volcano's East Rift Zone, HAWAII.
    PUUOO eruption from KILAUEA Volcano's East Rift Zone, HAWAII.
    Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō eruption from Kīlauea Volcano's East Rift Zone, Hawai‘i.

On Display at USGS, Reston Virginia: "Mapping America's Volcanoes"

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.

New Video: Kīlauea Summit Eruption | Lava Returns to Halema‘uma‘u

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.

Volcanic Unrest is Persistent in Alaska and Hawaii

The Alaska Volcano Observatory website (AVO) includes complete information about volcanoes in Alaska.
  • Shishaldin Volcano in the eastern Aleutian Islands began showing elevated seismic and infrasound activity in late November, 2017.
  • Great Sitkin Volcano in the central Aleutian Islands began showing signs of volcanic unrest on November 22, 2017. A robust steam plume followed a period of gradually increasing seismicity over several months.
  • Mount Cleveland, located in the central Aleutian Islands, has been in a state of volcanic unrest since June 17, 2015. Explosive eruptions can send ash to altitudes hazardous to aviation.

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website offers information about volcanoes in Hawaii.
  • Kīlauea Volcano on the Island of Hawai‘i has been erupting from its East Rift Zone nearly continuously since 1983. Lava flowing into the Pacific Ocean presentsocean entry hazards to visitors. A second eruption began at the summit of Kīlauea in 2008 where an active lava lake produces occasional explosions and gas emissions that create Statewide vog hazards.
  • Mauna Loa Volcano on the Island of Hawai‘i began showing signs of unrest in 2014, and the volcano alert level and aviation color code were raised on September 17, 2015. Elevated rates of earthquakes and ground deformation persist and HVO continues to monitor the volcano closely.