Exploring the Deep Source of Hawaiian Volcanoes

Pacific Island National Parks

The following is this week’s edition of “Volcano Watch” from the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory:
Welcome to Hawaiʻi Island’s 5th annual Volcano Awareness Month! Throughout January 2014, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO), in cooperation with Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, and Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense, will offer public talks across the island. For more information about each talk, go to HVO’s website (hvo.wr.usgs.gov).
Last January, in this column, we focused on what scientists have learned about volcanoes during some noteworthy eruptions. This year, we will explore the exact opposite—what scientists don’t know about how Hawaiian volcanoes work!Perhaps the most basic of these unanswered questions concerns the relation between the volcanoes at the surface and their source deep within the Earth.

Most scientists agree that Hawaiian volcanism results from a plume of hot rock that originates deep within the Earth and ascends through the crust…

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