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Assessing the Cascading Consequences of the 2018 Kilauea Eruption
November 6, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Kris Ludwig (U.S. Geological Survey)
Abstract: The 2018 Kīlauea eruption, which began on May 3 and paused on August 5, is the longest and largest recent eruption in the lower Puna district of Hawaii. Over 700 homes were destroyed and frequent seismicity and deformation at the summit caused damage to the USGS Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory as well as to critical infrastructure within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. To support the Department of the Interior (DOI) and state and county authorities in response to the eruption, the USGS activated the DOI Strategic Sciences Group (SSG). Established in 2012, the SSG is designed to complement ongoing response efforts by providing strategic science to identify potential social, environmental, and economic consequences and potential interventions of a crisis event affecting Departmental resources. This was the first official activation of the SSG since it supported Hurricane Sandy recovery in 2013. From July 17-19, 2018 the SSG convened a multidisciplinary team of 13 experts to examine the short- and long-term social, economic, and environmental cascading consequences of the eruption to DOI resources, employees, and facilities as well as to the surrounding communities. The SSG Kīlauea team developed three scenarios focused on the impacts of 1) continued seismicity and deformation at the summit; 2) vog; and 3) the eruption in the Lower East Rift Zone. This presentation will provide an overview of the SSG methods, initial results of the Kīlauea scenario-building process, identified knowledge gaps, and potential actions that were identified to mitigate cascading consequences.