Hirono: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Will Remain on Hawaii Island

May 31, 2019

Credit K. Mulliken / USGS

U. S. Sen. Mazie Hirono announced on Thursday that the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory will remain on Hawaii Island following a commitment she said she received from the director of the U.S. Geological Survey.

The observatory suffered severe damage from Kilauea's 2018 eruption and federal officials talked of moving the facility to Oahu. But Hirono, Mayor Harry Kim and residents objected, noting the importance of having the observatory's headquarters close to sites of active volcanoes.

Hirono discussed the issue with Jim Reilly, USGS director.

"The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is an integral part of the Hawaii Island community, as we saw when HVO scientists worked around the clock with first responders to provide critical information during last year's volcanic activity," said Hirono in a statement. "It just makes sense that this critical agency remains anchored on Hawaii Island, and I want to thank Dr. Reilly for being receptive to community concerns on this matter." 

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, located on the rim of the Kilauea summit's caldera, was damaged after multiple caldera collapses caused by hundreds of earthquakes. 

Created a little more than a century ago by geologist Thomas A. Jaggar, the observatory is responsible for monitoring and researching any hazards from the state's active volcanoes.