U.S. Geological Survey - Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory - Volunteer Program - History
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) enjoys a world-wide reputation as a leader in the study of active volcanism. Due to their usually benign natures, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, the most active volcanoes on the Island of Hawai`i, can be studied up close in relative safety. While observations made by 19th-century missionaries and travelers constitute a large part of the early and colorful history of volcano watching in Hawai`i, HVO's origins are rooted in a desire to use scientific methodology to understand the nature of volcanic processes and to reduce their risks to society.
Monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes to track their behavior before, during, and after eruptions and to determine the nature of their activity.
Studying the eruption histories of Hawai`i's volcanoes in order to achieve a long-term perspective that can help to anticipate their future behavior and identify potentially hazardous areas.
Communicating results of our studies with the public, emergency managers, educators, and students through the media, presentations and workshops, field trips, and the USGS Volunteer Program.
Knowledge of past eruptions and earthquakes, and careful monitoring of ongoing activity, form the basis of our current hazard assessments in Hawai`i and our studies of volcanic and seismic processes. By keeping abreast of what is happening, and by knowing what has happened, we can coexist with Hawai`i's active volcanoes, living, working, and playing on them and minimizing their dangers to people and property.Our current work is focused on the following subject areas:
Russ' essay stands out in its accuracy and readability, and we recommend it to anyone interested in understanding the flavor of HVO, particularly during the first half of the 20th century.
Reginald ("Reggie") T. Okamura, beloved Chief of Operations of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory from 1958 - 1992, died peacefully in his sleep at Hilo Medical Center on January 16, 1999.
Tribute to a friend and colleague
Reggie began his career at HVO as a Physical Science Technician in 1958, after receiving a degree in entomology, with a minor in chemistry, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. In 1978, he became Chief of Operations, a position he held until his retirement in 1992.
Descriptions, photographs, graphic illustrations, and case examples of scientific methods used to monitor volcanoes.