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Students monitor an active Hawaiian volcano in real-time

Researchers: Michael Poland*, Kaatje Kraft•, Rachel Teasdale••
Affiliations: USGS – *Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, •Mesa Community College, ••California State University, Chico
Written by Celia Schiffman
1 September 2012


Monitoring with GPS

Kilauea Volcano has been erupting through the spatter cone Puʻu ʻŌʻō since 1983 on the Big Island of Hawai’i. It has been an exciting, dynamic eruption, ranging from dramatic fissure and lava fountains, to lava streams oozing into the steaming ocean. It has also been destructive, destroying the towns of Kalapana and Kaimū in 1990.


Real-Time Data in the Classroom

This continuously erupting volcano provides an excellent opportunity for students to use real-time data in various classroom activities. Michael Poland of the USGS has been working with educators to develop activities where students obtain and analyze scientific data concerning the current state of the volcano. Scientists use the same data to determine upcoming changes in the behavior of the volcano and to decide where visitors can safely view the eruption. For example, if the volcano is releasing a high amount of toxic gases, visitors may not be allowed in an area downwind of the volcano.


UNAVCO Connections

Magma on the move expresses itself in many different ways, including by deforming the ground surface. This deformation is picked up by UNAVCO GPS stations, which put the data online in real-time. In many of the activities students access GPS data to determine where and how much magma might be moving at a given time. The real-time nature of the data can be very engaging for the students, as they are actually monitoring and interpreting ongoing events.


Real-time Data Activities

The real-time nature of the data can be very engaging for the students, as they are actually monitoring and interpreting ongoing events. Activities developed at a 2010 workshop using real-time Puʻu ʻŌʻō data can be found at:
http://www.nagt.org/nagt/vepp/index.html

Related Links

References

Activities developed at a 2010 workshop using real-time Puʻu ʻŌʻō data.

Wang, J., L. Zhang, A. Dai, F. Immler, M. Sommer and H. Voemel, 2012: Radiation dry bias correction of Vaisala RS92 humidity data and its impacts on historical radiosonde data. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., to be submitted.

Mears, C., J. Wang, S. Ho, L. Zhang and X. Zhou, 2012: Total column water vapor, in State of the Climate in 2011. Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., in press.

Related Snapshots

Satellite imagery allows scientists to safely see the fine details of an eruption in Hawaii

Keywords

Hawai’i, volcano, fissure, lava fountains, lava streams

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