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Keywords:

  • volcanology;
  • Hawaii

In 2012 the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), the oldest of five volcano observatories in the United States, is commemorating the 100th anniversary of its founding. HVO's location, on the rim of Kīlauea volcano (Figure 1)—one of the most active volcanoes on Earth—has provided an unprecedented opportunity over the past century to study processes associated with active volcanism and develop methods for hazards assessment and mitigation. The scientifically and societally important results that have come from 100 years of HVO's existence are the realization of one man's vision of the best way to protect humanity from natural disasters. That vision was a response to an unusually destructive decade that began the twentieth century, a decade that saw almost 200,000 people killed by the effects of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.