Hawaiian Volcano Observatory launches new tephra lab

Local News

HILO, Hawaii (KHON2) — The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) on the Big Island announced on Thursday, Jan. 7, the opening of a new lab that will help scientists study volcanic samples known as tephra.

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Tephra is any type and size of rock fragment that is spewed into the air from a volcano during an eruption. Examples of tephra include ash, bombs, scoria and shards of volcanic glass such as Pele’s hair and Pele’s tears.

HVO’s new lab uses a non-destructive process that allows scientists to perform an array of analyses on the same fragment rather than testing different samples of the same material.

Studying the fragments’ components, density and size can help geologists better understand volcanic eruptions while preserving the analyzed sample for further use.

Samples of the most recent eruption at Kīlauea will be the first to be analyzed in the new lab.

Click here to read more about the new HVO tephra lab.

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