Categorized | Sci-Tech

Stimulus money earmarked to update HVO


Residents and critical infrastructure in the nation’s six highest-risk volcanic areas – including Hawaii – will benefit from increased monitoring and analysis as a result of Recovery Act funds being channeled into volcano monitoring.

The U.S. Geological Survey is planning to use $15.2 million of its American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to upgrade volcano monitoring and the analysis and distribution of eruption information at the five volcano observatories that cover Wyoming, Alaska, Hawaii, the Northwest, California, as well as the network that covers the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. 

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory – $3,300,000 

Kilauea has been in constant eruption for 26 years now. 

During the past two years, the eruption took an ominous turn with shifting directions of lava flows that threatened inundation of populated areas, followed by the onset of explosions and voluminous toxic gas emission at the summit requiring closure of prime areas of Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park.

Nearby Mauna Loa is one of the earth’s most active volcanoes and another eruption is certain to occur, although the time frame is difficult to forecast.

Mauna Loa eruptions typically produce fast-moving flows of lava that could cut transportation arteries or inundate communities with lava in a matter of hours.  

Much of Hawaii’s monitoring equipment is outdated. ARRA funds will be used to upgrade aging instruments and telemetry, provide the capacity to detect and forecast toxic sulfur dioxide plumes, and improve understanding of eruption processes.

Specifically, the money will be used to:

* Improve the seismic network of instruments and telemetry, allowing scientists to better record and track earthquake activity.

* Upgrade instruments measuring changes to the earth’s surface caused as magma moves and movement along faults as a result of  earthquake activity.

* Install an instrument network around Kilauea summit to try to develop a forecasting method for vog conditions.

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