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News Briefs

News Briefs



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Photo of volcano on Kīlauea Volcano's East Rift Zone in Hawaii erupting Happy birthday Puʻu ʻŌʻō!

December 28—On January 3, 2018, Puʻu ʻŌʻō on Kīlauea Volcano's East Rift Zone in Hawai‘i reached its 35th birthday. Since it began in 1983, the eruption has produced a range of volcanic processes and hazards, from captivating high lava fountains to majestic ocean entries. And after 35 years, it's still going strong. The year started with a bang, or rather, a collapse of the eastern Kamokuna lava delta formed by an ocean entry during the last five months of 2016. By New Year's Day 2017, most of the delta was gone, along with part of the adjacent sea cliff. Approximately 25 acres had collapsed into the ocean, piecemeal over a period of 4 hours, leaving only 2.5 acres of the original delta in place. More: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/hvo_volcano_watch.html?vwid=1230


Photo of inundated land in Alaska Re-Assessing Alaska’s Energy Frontier

December 22—Less than 80 miles from Prudhoe Bay, home to the giant oil fields that feed the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, lies the site of the latest oil and gas assessment of the USGS: the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and adjacent areas. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the NPR-A covers 22.8 million acres, more than the entire state of South Carolina. The new USGS assessment estimates 8.7 billion barrels of oil and 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas resources. This is a more than six-fold increase from the previous USGS estimates in the region. “Advances in technology and our understanding of petroleum geology are constantly moving forward,” said Walter Guidroz, program coordinator of the USGS Energy Resources Program. “That’s why the USGS re-evaluates and updates our assessments, to give decision-makers the best available science to manage our natural resources.” More: https://www.usgs.gov/news/re-assessing-alaskas-energy-frontier


Graphic map showing location where erupting lava was diverted by new lava tubes Evolving tube network blocked and diverted lava from the Kamokuna delta

December 21—Lava erupting from the active vent on the east flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō has not entered the ocean or reached the Kamokuna lava delta during the past month. Instead, small lava flows are scattered across the 61g flow field. Geologists of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory last observed active lava atop the delta on November 17. For nearly 16 months beginning on July 26, 2016, lava traveled through an evolving lava-tube network into the ocean at Kamokuna. Lava alternately built new land into the ocean when the steep submarine slope grew sufficiently seaward to support a lava delta and poured directly into the ocean as a great lava fall when the delta and submarine slope collapsed, shearing the tube at the sea cliff and exposing a lava stream 1 to 2 m (3 to 6 ft) in diameter gushing into the ocean. More: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/hvo_volcano_watch.html?vwid=1229


Photo of gold particles in boiling fluids from a hydrothermal vent in the sea First observation of gold particles in hot hydrothermal fluids

December 11—For the first time, scientists have found gold particles in boiling fluids from a hydrothermal vent. USGS scientist Amy Gartman and coauthors published their discovery in the journal Geology. Gold is one of the metals in hydrothermal vent deposits that may make mining them economical. The discovery of gold colloids—particles smaller than 1 micron (a human hair is about 60 microns in diameter) suspended in seawater—will advance understanding of how, and how fast, seafloor gold deposits form. Gartman and colleagues collected the colloids from hydrothermal fluids at Niua volcano in the South Pacific on a 2016 Schmidt Ocean Institute cruise. Gold colloids are widely used in biomedicine and technology and have long been hypothesized to exist in natural fluids. This study is the first to find them in hydrothermal fluids. More: https://marine.usgs.gov/news/archive.php#1189


For all USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program news, see: https://marine.usgs.gov/news/
For all USGS news, see: https://www.usgs.gov/news
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in this issue:

Cover Story New Expedition along  the Queen Charlotte-Fairweather Fault in Alaska

News Brief
News Briefs

Field Work
Recent Fieldwork

Outreach
Open House Welcomes Enthusiastic Visitors to Santa Cruz Office

Meetings
Highlights from the 2017 AGU Fall Meeting

Awards
DOI‘s Distinguished Service Award Given to Susan Russell-Robinson

Staff amd Center News
Susan Russell-Robinson: Forty-Two Years of Service to the USGS

Publications
Jan. Publications

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