Volcano Watch: Searching for tephra from one of Kilauea’s largest explosive eruptions

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists and a National Park Service archaeologist hike west along the Hilina Pali Trail on July 26, 2023. (USGS photo / D. Downs)

Understanding the eruptive history of volcanoes in Hawaii requires a tremendous amount of time and effort examining deposits. Typically, older eruptions have less material exposed at the surface because younger eruptions bury them, or wind and rain erode them. Such is the case for one of Kilauea’s largest explosive eruptions, which is not exposed near its source at the summit and must be studied further afield.