Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Skip past Left navigational barKilauea
black circleEruption Update
black circleEruption Summary
black circleHazards
black circleHistory
black circleVolcano Movies
Mauna Loa
black circleCurrent Status
black circleHazards
black circleHistory
              circleCurrent Eqs Map
black circleFelt EQs
black circleDestructive EQs
black circleSeismicity
black circleHazards, Zoning
black circleInstrumentation
black circleHualalai
black circleHaleakala
black circleLo`ihi
Volcanic Hazards
black circleFAQ-SO2 Vog Ash
black circleCurrent SO2Conditions
black circleOcean Entry
black circleLava Zones
black circleTypes
About HVO
black circleHistory of HVO
black circleVolunteer program
black circleLocation
black circleContact Us

HVO—100 years ago this month

To set the stage for our 100th anniversary next year, we will reflect over the next few months on events leading to the founding of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory in 1912.

In January 1911, Thomas A. Jaggar arranged for the world-famous volcanologist Frank Perret to accompany him to Kīlauea Volcano the following summer. But by April, Jaggar pulled out of the arrangement over concerns about his wife's health (she was pregnant). However, he continued to arrange for the equipment needed to perform several experiments on Kīlauea.

Perret and Dr. E.S. Shepherd were tasked to perform these experiments and to start regular observations of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. They arrived in Honolulu with their equipment at the end of June 1911 and, after a brief stop on Maui, arrived in Hilo and traveled directly to Kīlauea Crater.

On July 2, 1911, Perret and Shepherd began their work toward finishing two tasks—erecting a cable across Halemaʻumaʻu Crater for the purpose of obtaining a temperature of molten lava, and constructing an observation and instrument station at the crater's edge. By July 20, the cables spanned a distance of 380 m (1,250 ft)—the crater today is about 1,000 m (3,280 ft) in diameter—between A-frames on opposite sides of the crater rim and the team had twice attempted, but failed, to get a temperature from the molten lava lake. They succeeded, however, in obtaining a large lava sample (shown in photo, with Perret at right) using the cable.
A proud display of the molten lava sample from the Halema`uma`u lava lake after it was cool enough to handle. Frank Perret is holding up the right end.
To be continued next month ...

Hawaiian volcanoes—This month in history

Image from July 5, 1975 Mauna Loa spectacular eruption July 5, 1975 blackdotAfter 25 years of slumber, Mauna Loa woke with a spectacular, but short-lived, eruption that began just before midnight on July 5. Lava fountains soon erupted from fissures extending across the length of Mokuʻāweoweo, Mauna Loa's summit caldera, and into the upper ends of the volcano's northeast and southwest rift zones. After only 6 hours, the caldera and southwest rift zone activity ended, but fountains on the northwest rift zone continued to erupt until 7:30 p.m. on July 6, when all eruptive activity ceased.

July 19, 1974 blackdotLava erupted at the summit of Kīlauea for the first time in almost three years on this day. Fissures between Crater Rim Drive and Chain of Craters Road, and within the summit caldera, erupted fountains of lava that cut both roads, partly filled Keanakākoʻi and Lua Manu craters, and covered the south part of the caldera floor. The eruption lasted only three days, but was significant in that it marked the end of the 1969-74 Mauna Ulu eruption on Kīlauea's east rift zone.
July 19, 1974 Mauna Ulu eruption

Archive of previous feature stories

  Halema`uma`u plume captures the sun in the early morning, creating a picturesque sight.
Photograph by M. Poland
November 14, 2008

Hanging with the sun and the moon

Top: Halema`uma`u plume captures the sun in the early morning, creating a picturesque sight.

Bottom: With stagnant winds present, Halema`uma`u plume stands straight up, showing off the distant, but bright, full moon.

Archive of Featured Photographs

  With stagnant winds present, Halema`uma`u plume stands straight up, showing off the distant, but bright, full moon.
Photograph by M. Poland
November 13, 2008


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.
Skip past main content navigational bar

Homeblank spacerVolcano Watchblank spacerProductsblank spacerGalleryblank spacerPress Releases
How Hawaiian Volcanoes Work

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California, USA
Contact HVO
     phone: 808-967-7328 M-F 8 am - 4:30 pm H.s.t.

| USGS Privacy Statement | USGS Disclaimer | Accessibility |
Last modification: 1 July 2011 (pnf)