USGS geologist discusses monitoring Kilauea volcano

By on January 9, 2013

Geologists with the U.S. Geological Survey are busy monitoring Kilauea, one of the earth’s most active volcanoes. In a Q-and-A by OurAmazingPlanet, a USGS expert discusses the agency’s volcano monitoring work.

Matt Patrick, a geologist with USGS, said the craziest thing he’s seen while monitoring Kilauea was its lava draining after nearby Kamoamoa erupted. The lava dropped 550 feet in a day, and a USGS camera was there to capture it. He also mentioned the corrosive effects of volcano monitoring on equipment, noting that hard plastic covers protected better than stainless steel.

Patrick shared some of the agency’s future plans for monitoring, saying USGS is working on automating the identification of lava flows through its webcams, which would allow for quicker processing of flow images.

Image: An eruption from one of the vents of Kilauea (Credit: Brean Snelson, via Flickr)

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