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Communication strategy of the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory during the lava-flow crisis of 2014–2015, Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai‘i

By
Steven R. Brantley
Steven R. Brantley
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, P.O. Box 51, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii 96718, USA
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James P. Kauahikaua
James P. Kauahikaua
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, P.O. Box 51, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii 96718, USA
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Janet L. Babb
Janet L. Babb
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, P.O. Box 51, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii 96718, USA
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Tim R. Orr
Tim R. Orr
Alaska Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, 4230 University Drive, Anchorage, Alaska 99508-4667, USA
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Matthew R. Patrick
Matthew R. Patrick
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, P.O. Box 51, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii 96718, USA
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Michael P. Poland
Michael P. Poland
Cascades Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, 1300 SE Cardinal Court, Suite 100, Vancouver, Washington 98683-9589, USA
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Frank A. Trusdell
Frank A. Trusdell
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, U.S. Geological Survey, P.O. Box 51, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii 96718, USA
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Darryl Oliveira
Darryl Oliveira
1815 Waianuenue Avenue, Hilo, Hawaii 96720, USA
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Publication history
24 January 201819 September 2018

ABSTRACT

In 2014–2015, a slow-moving pāhoehoe lava flow from the remote Pu‘u Ō ‘ō vent on Kīlauea Volcano advanced 20 km into populated areas of the Puna District on the Island of Hawai‘i. The staff of the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) mobilized their resources to closely monitor the flow and provide up-to-date information to the Hawai‘i County Civil Defense (HCCD) agency, the public, and the news media. Scientists issued formal USGS notifications about the flow and Kīlauea’s two eruptions, prepared maps and annotated photographs, infrared images, and videos for dissemination online, and wrote weekly “Volcano Watch” articles for local newspapers. They also provided regular briefings for federal, state, and county agency representatives, answered questions during near-daily briefings with local and national media, and offered information through an established lecture series and participation in community emergency preparedness fairs. Noteworthy among the communication activities was a series of public meetings organized by the Hawai‘i County mayor’s office and led by the HCCD administrator. The meetings were a regular forum for many HVO scientists to talk directly and frequently with residents, business owners, elected officials, and other stakeholders about their concerns, the evolving status of the eruptions, and the uncertain prognosis of the flow’s advance and extent. The dialogue was essential for HVO staff to describe their observations and insights about the lava flow’s behavior and to gain credibility with the community during the crisis. This experience suggests that personal engagement with people at risk from future lava flows in Hawai‘i and elsewhere in the world will remain a crucial part of an eruption response, even with greater capability to disseminate warnings and information digitally via the Internet.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Field Volcanology: A Tribute to the Distinguished Career of Don Swanson

Geological Society of America
Volume
538
ISBN electronic:
9780813795386

GeoRef

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