U.S. Geological Survey works with UH Hilo to analyze lava samples
The U.S. Geological Survey is working with the University of Hawaii at Hilo to analyze lava samples from the current Kilauea eruption.
Samples from the field are crushed into powder and run through a machine that analyzes its chemical data.
"We can do a really quick chemical analysis, we can look for tracers that tell us if anything is changing in the magma, in the system, and get that information back to HVO right away, usually within hours, or at least a day," UH Hilo Volcanologist Cheryl Gansecki said.
The results help determine how the lava will behave and how fast it will move.
Testing helped give officials two to three days warning of a new, more fluid type of lava that can travel longer distances.