Tropical Storm Iselle hit the big island of Hawaii on August 8th, directly, knocking out power to thousands of people. Homes and utilities weren't the only things that were damaged; many of the tools geophysicists use to detect volcanic eruptions were compromised. With four volcanoes having the potential to erupt, even a short gap in observations is a hazard
The observations have been limited to detection only , with the seismic network in Hawaii down. However, with 4 volcanoes on the island with the potential to erupt, an extra set of eyes was needed.
“Mauna Loa is a very hazardous volcano because many of the communities are down slope from there,” Schneider adds. “We didn't anticipate an eruption but just to make sure that nothing was catching anyone by surprise we were monitoring this kind of data.”
Power was restored to the Hawaii observatory Thursday morning and the reins were transferred back.
“They very much appreciate our ability to help them out in this time,” said Schneider.
The Alaska Volcano Observatory says it's helped out in this way many times before. It's one of 5 observatories run by the USGS that all have access to same satellite imagery.