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A new volcano update is being hosted by the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory in collaboration with the Emergency Management Office of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

In Memoriam
Eric Rutherford
August 8, 1974 - November 12, 2003

Eric on top of Hualalai at sunset, June 19, 2003Eric Rutherford volunteered for the Geology Group at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory from September to December 2002. He returned in January 2003 to work with Frank Trusdell for the National Park Service, compiling geologic data about National Parks in the Pacific Islands for the NPS Inventory and Monitoring Program. Eric left Hawai`i in mid-August to begin graduate school at the University of Texas in Austin. He was diagnosed with cancer on October 1.

Eric at the base of Holei Pali, August 7, 2003Eric will be remembered at HVO for his quick intelligence, quiet good humor, tireless field work, and vast collection of rock music. Eric?s family is setting up a scholarship fund in his name for geology students. Please visit their website for further information:

Archive of previous feature stories

  View of lava spattering in crater of Pu`u `O`o, Kilauea Volcano, Hawai`i
Photograph by C. Heliker
12 September 2003
Top: Within minutes of erupting on the crater floor of Pu`u `O`o, lava drains back into the East Pond Vent and causes vigorous lava spattering as high as 10 m. The flow and drainback lasted only a few minutes. Such activity is probably caused by rising bubbles of gas that lift lava to the surface. The crust breaks, allowing gas to escape vigorously and drive brief spattering or a low fountain. When most of the gas has been lost, lava drains back into the vent. This activity is called gas pistoning. For full sequence of images, see September 2003 archive.

Bottom: Lava spattering from the west vent in West Gap Pit of Pu`u `O`o sails over a hornito on the rim of the pit, now filled with lava. Several flows spilled from the pit down the northwest flank of Pu`u `O`o, adding yet more lava to the west shield. The hornito and West Gap Pit were present before this most recent activity.

Archive of Featured Photographs

  Lava spattering from the West Gap Pit on the west flank of Pu`u `O`o, Kilauea Volcano
Photograph by C. Heliker
3 October 2003


More Volcano Information from HVO and Beyond

Earthquake seismogramReport a felt earthquake to HVO using this form.
More USGS Volcano Web sites

Volcano WatchCurrent issue of Volcano Watch essay, written weekly by USGS scientists.
National Park ServiceHawai`i Volcanoes National Park, home to HVO. Find visitor information and resources here. Graphic: Kids DoorVolcanoes for kids, from the Volcano World website.