Geologists, geophysicists in Vancouver extending a helping hand - KPTV - FOX 12

Geologists, geophysicists in Vancouver extending a helping hand on Hawaiian volcanic activity

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As the world watches lave spew from the ground, in Hawaii, geologists and geophysicists in the Northwest aren’t just watching what is happening they’re also lending a helping hand to their counterparts on the Big Island.

At the USGS office in Vancouver, several people are monitoring activity in the overnight hours. 

“Interesting times to say the least.” USGS Geophysicist Researcher Weston Thelen said. “On April 30th Pu'u O'o collapsed and that started a sequence of events that led to the Leilani Estates eruption that we are seeing now.”

Thelen was on the Big Island doing research in the weeks before lava began shooting up through fissures in the ground.

“We knew there was a possibility that there could be an eruption,” Thelen said.

He’s among the several groups of researchers monitoring activity. They are watching for seismometers and watching for earthquakes and any indication another fissure may open up.

“We have around 10 people from different observatories who are participating in night watches and trying to relieve the local staff there from having the stay up 24/7,” Thelen said.

As the eruptions continue those at the USGS office in Vancouver are happy to help learn more and more about the earth and what makes it move.

“Being able to chip in like this is part of what we do,” Thelen said.

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