Scientists tracking Kilauea's activity are relocating their operations (again)

HILO, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - Around the clock, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists monitor Kilauea's every spurt of lava, rumble of ground and collapse of crater walls.

Throughout the eruption, they handled constant updates to the media while working alongside county and state officials in ensuring public safety.

But for the second time in almost three months, HVO scientists are being forced relocate their headquarters.

In May, they moved from their original monitoring location when ash explosions ramped up at Halemaumau Crater, making the area unstable and unsafe.

From the headquarters perched along the summit rim next to the Jaggar Museum, they relocated to the University of Hawaii Hilo campus, where they could monitor activity from a safe distance.

"When they found they had to evacuate their building, we were happy to make space for them," Ken Hon, vice chancellor of Academic Affairs at UH Hilo, said in May.

Now that the summer vacation for UH Hilo students winds down and the classroom space is needed, the scientists are set to move yet again.

"USGS has leased part of the U.S. Customs Building in Hilo as an interim location for HVO -- while other, longer-term solutions are identified and considered," Janet Babb, of the United States Geological Service HVO said in an email.

About 30 staffers will be moving when the new office opens up in the coming weeks.

"Some staff will continue working at (UH Hilo), others will telework, but most will office at the Customs Building for at least the next six months (maybe longer)," Babb added.

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