Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Professional Paper 1801

Characteristics of Hawaiian Volcanoes

Edited by Michael P. Poland, Taeko Jane Takahashi, and Claire M. Landowski

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (114 MB)Abstract

Founded in 1912 at the edge of the caldera of Kīlauea Volcano, HVO was the vision of Thomas A. Jaggar, Jr., a geologist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, whose studies of natural disasters around the world had convinced him that systematic, continuous observations of seismic and volcanic activity were needed to better understand—and potentially predict—earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Jaggar summarized the aim of HVO by stating that “the work should be humanitarian” and have the goals of developing “prediction and methods of protecting life and property on the basis of sound scientific achievement.” These goals align well with those of the USGS, whose mission is to serve the Nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage natural resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.

“Characteristics of Hawaiian Volcanoes” establishes a benchmark for the current understanding of volcanism in Hawai‘i, and the articles herein build upon the elegant and pioneering work of Jaggar and many other USGS and academic scientists. Each chapter synthesizes the lessons learned about a specific aspect of volcanism in Hawai‘i, based largely on continuous observation of eruptive activity (like that occurring now at Kīlauea Volcano) and on systematic research into volcanic and earthquake processes during HVO’s first 100 years. Researchers and students interested in basaltic volcanism should find the volume to be a valuable starting point for future investigations of Hawaiian volcanoes and an important reference for decades to come, as well as an informative and entertaining read.

[An excerpt from the foreword by Suzette M. Kimball, USGS Acting Director]

First posted December 12, 2014

For additional information, contact:
HVO, Volcano Science Center,
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
U.S. Geological Survey
P.O. Box 51, 1 Crater Rim Road
Hawaii National Park, HI 96718-0051  

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). For best results viewing and printing PDF documents, it is recommended that you download the documents to your computer and open them with Adobe Reader. PDF documents opened from your browser may not display or print as intended. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge. More information about viewing, downloading, and printing report files can be found here.

Suggested citation:

Poland, M.P., Takahashi, T.J., and Landowski, C.M., eds., 2014, Characteristics of Hawaiian volcanoes: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1801, 429 p.,

ISSN 1044-9612 (print)

ISSN 2330-7102 (online)





Chapter 1 - The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory—A Natural Laboratory for Studying Basaltic Volcanism
By Robert I. Tilling, James P. Kauahikaua, Steven R. Brantley, and Christina A. Neal

Chapter 2 - The Evolution of Seismic Monitoring Systems at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
By Paul G. Okubo, Jennifer S. Nakata, and Robert Y. Koyanagi

Chapter 3 - Growth and Degradation of Hawaiian Volcanoes
By David A. Clague and David R. Sherrod

Chapter 4 - Instability of Hawaiian Volcanoes
By Roger P. Denlinger and Julia K. Morgan

Chapter 5 - Magma Supply, Storage, and Transport at Shield-Stage Hawaiian Volcanoes
By Michael P. Poland, Asta Miklius, and Emily K. Montgomery-Brown

Chapter 6 - Petrologic Insights into Basaltic Volcanism at Historically Active Hawaiian Volcanoes
By Rosalind T. Helz, David A. Clague, Thomas W. Sisson, and Carl R. Thornber

Chapter 7 - One Hundred Volatile Years of Volcanic Gas Studies at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
By A. Jeff Sutton and Tamar Elias

Chapter 8 - The Dynamics of Hawaiian-Style Eruptions: A Century of Study
By Margaret T. Mangan, Katharine V. Cashman, and Donald A. Swanson

Chapter 9 - A Century of Studying Effusive Eruptions in Hawai‘i
By Katharine V. Cashman and Margaret T. Mangan

Chapter 10 - Natural Hazards and Risk Reduction in Hawai‘i
By James P. Kauahikaua and Robert I. Tilling

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Contact USGS
Page Last Modified: Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 12:23:53 PM