Volcanic air pollution hazards in Hawaii

Fact Sheet 2017-3017
By:  and 



Noxious sulfur dioxide gas and other air pollutants emitted from Kīlauea Volcano on the Island of Hawai‘i react with oxygen, atmospheric moisture, and sunlight to produce volcanic smog (vog) and acid rain. Vog can negatively affect human health and agriculture, and acid rain can contaminate household water supplies by leaching metals from building and plumbing materials in rooftop rainwater-catchment systems. U.S. Geological Survey scientists, along with health professionals and local government officials are working together to better understand volcanic air pollution and to enhance public awareness of this hazard.

Suggested Citation

Elias, T., and Sutton, A.J., 2017, Volcanic air pollution hazards in Hawaii: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017–3017, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173017.

ISSN: 2327-6932 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Eruption Plumes and the Creation of Vog
  • What Controls Vog on the Island of Hawai‘i?
  • Measuring Volcanic SO2 and its Impact on Air Quality
  • Where Does Vog Go?
  • Measuring Volcanic SO2
  • How Vog Affects Humans
  • How Vog Affects Agriculture and the Natural Environment
  • How Much SO2 is There?
  • How the Volcanic Plume Affects Water Quality
  • Climate and Weather: Regional and Global Impacts of Vog
  • Adapting to Life with Vog
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Volcanic air pollution hazards in Hawaii
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 2017-3017
DOI 10.3133/fs20173017
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Volcano Science Center
Description 4 p.
Country United States
State Hawaii
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details