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Keywords:

  • Kilauea;
  • Halema`uma`u;
  • tephra flux

The 2008–2009 eruption at Kīlauea Volcano's summit made news because of its eight small discrete explosive eruptions and noxious volcanic smog (vog) created from outgassing sulfur dioxide. Less appreciated is the ongoing, weak, but continuous output of tephra, primarily ash, from the new open vent in Halema'uma'u Crater. This tephra holds clues to processes causing the eruption and forming the new crater-in-a-crater, and its flux is important to hazard evaluations.

The setting of the vent–easily accessible from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)—is unusually favorable for neardaily tracking of tephra mass flux during this small prolonged basaltic eruption. Recognizing this, scientists from HVO are collecting ash and documenting how ejection masses, components, and chemical compositions vary through time.