USGS scientists relocate to UH Hilo as summit explosions continue

Local News

Monday, May 28, marks 18 days since Hawaii Volcanoes National Park shut down as a result of potential dangers from the explosions.

That’s a new record, and at this point, there’s no talk of reopening the park anytime soon.

Among those who had to evacuate were scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, which has an office at the rim of the caldera.

Many of them are now working out of the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Ed Brown, associate director, USGS Volcano Science Center, says the school “has been a phenomenal resource for us.”

Three recent UH Hilo graduates are among the evacuees, working around the clock to gather and analyze up-to-the-minute information on the eruption and lava flows.

Katherine Mulliken was born and raised in Volcano. Now, the UH Hilo graduate is a geologist with Alaska Volcano Observatory and back at her alma mater, working in partnership with HVO.

“I’m really happy and grateful that I get to be here helping out. It’s a been a little hard. It’s hard to see people really impacted, friends and family,” she said.

UH Hilo has a long-standing relationship with HVO, providing internships and other opportunities for college students interested in volcanology.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s last major closure was back in 2013, but that was the result of a government shutdown.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.