California Volcano Observatory is USGS’s Newest


Credit: D.H. Parks

The USGS announced on Thursday the founding of the new California Volcano Observatory (CalVO), which joins the ranks of the Yellowstone, Cascades, Hawaii, Alaska and Long Valley observatories.

CalVO will be tasked with monitoring a region of the US that covers California and Nevada, all out of the USGS offices in Menlo Park. The Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington, is now in charge of the volcanoes in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. The reorganization is part of the National Volcano Early Warning System (NVEWS) that hopes to unify volcano monitoring and response across the USA.


Credit: D.H. Parks

California is home to well-known volcanoes such as Mount Shasta, Lassen Peak, while Long Valley has a bevy of volcanic fields and dome complexes. There are more than 500 volcanic vents in California. It replaces the Long Valley Observatory, which was established in 1982. California is also quite geologically diverse. The Golden State has earthquakes, landslides, and flood hazards.

CalVO will streamline the emergency response of the USGS’s operations and will coordinate with the rest of the observatories to allow a unified response to any eruptions that might threaten the infrastructure.

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