Monday, May 27, 2024
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Hilo native to head Washington observatory

HVO is proud to report that Elliot T. Endo, long-time HVO associate and 1961 graduate of Hilo High School, has been named Scientist-in-Charge of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Cascades Volcano Observatory (CVO) in Vancouver, Washington. Elliot is the son of Kazuo and Yayoi Endo of `Ainako.

Elliot assumes this position almost 41 years after he began his volcanology career at HVO on a 180-day appointment as a field assistant. Though his salary was modest, Elliot played an important role during an unusually active time at HVO, helping the small staff with leveling, tilt measurements, deployment of portable seismic recorders, reading seismic records-and even sweeping the floors. One of his most important contributions was to help with pioneering studies of cooling lava lakes in Alae and, particularly, Makaopuhi craters. For several years, Elliot held the record for the fastest ascent from Makaopuhi following an exhausting day of drilling on the crater floor.

Elliot worked for Modern Camera while in high school, acquiring photographic and darkroom skills that enabled him to be the photographer for the 1961 Hilo High Yearbook. His photographic talents were put to immediate use at HVO; many of the best black and white photos in the HVO archive for the mid-1960s are Elliot’s.

Elliot served in the Army Reserve in Hilo as the Clerk of Company B, 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry.

At the encouragement of HVO staff, Elliot resumed his education at UHH. He moved to California in 1966 to attend San Jose State, where he obtained a B.S. degree in geology in 1969 and a M.S. in 1971, and to work part-time at the USGS National Center for Earthquake Research in Menlo Park. While working in Menlo Park, Elliot initiated the routine computer processing of HVO seismic data-a very new thing in those early days of computers. He also helped design and install prototype satellite monitoring systems, a task that took him to volcanoes in Alaska and Central America as well as Hawai`i.

Elliot transferred to the University of Washington in 1975 to study for his Ph.D. degree. While there, he was the first person to recognize volcanic tremor beneath Mount St. Helens in March 1980, evidence that led to the large USGS buildup before the May 18 eruption. Shortly after the eruption, he transferred to the new Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, which has been his home ever since. In 1985 Elliot obtained his Ph.D. for research related to the Ka`oiki fault system on Mauna Loa.

In 1989, Elliot served six months as Deputy Scientist-in-Charge at CVO before moving to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to join the USGS Mission as a technical advisor and project chief for the Al-Madinah volcano-seismic hazards project. While in Saudi, he installed a radio-telemetry short-period seismic network and introduced GPS as a volcano-monitoring tool. During his tour, Elliot also served as section chief for remote sensing and dramatically ramped up and modernized the Mission’s capability to process remote-sensing data.

In 1991 Elliot returned to Vancouver to join the geodesy group at CVO and began to focus on monitoring volcano deformation using the new GPS technique. In 1998 he installed a 14-station continuous GPS monitoring network at Long Valley Caldera near Mammoth Lakes, California.

During the last 12 years, Elliot has made numerous follow-up trips to Saudi Arabia. Most recently, he helped the new Saudi Geological Survey on a proposal for a 100-station national seismic network and data-analysis facility.

Elliot has worked all over the Pacific Rim since 1990. He led the GPS survey at Katmai Volcano and at Augustine island in Alaska, participated in the USGS response to the Mount Pinatubo eruption in the Philippines in 1991, served with the Volcano Disaster Assistance Project (VDAP) response to the 1994 eruption at Rabaul Volcano (Papua New Guinea), and followed-up on VDAP response work in 1999 and 2000. He also served on the VDAP response to Pago Volcano (East New Britain, Papua New Guinea) in 2002.

In addition to his parents, Elliot has three brothers, Barney, Francis and Elton, who still reside in Hilo. Elliot met his late wife, the former Yukie Kimura of Kurtistown, at HVO, where she was a secretary. They had one son, Kevin, who now resides in Seattle.

Congratulations, Elliot – we’re all very proud of you!

Activity Update

Eruptive activity at the Pu`u `O`o vent of Kilauea Volcano continued unabated during the past week. The various vents within Pu`u `O`o were occasionally active this week, and new flows coat the crater floor. Lava also emanated from Puka Nui, located immediately outside the crater, and from the rootless shield complex at the top of the Mother’s Day Flow. No active flows are on Pulama pali or the coastal flat below Paliuli. No lava is entering the ocean.

Two earthquakes were reported felt in the week ending on December 11. A resident of Honaunau felt the earth move on Friday, December 5 at 11:42 in the morning. The earthquake responsible was a magnitude-2.5 event located 4 km (2.4 mi) northwest of Honaunau at a depth of 10 km (6 mi). Residents of Volcano Village and Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park were awakened by a magnitude-3.1 earthquake at 3:27 a.m. on Thursday, December 11. The temblor was located 5 km (3 mi) southeast of Kilauea Summit at a depth of 1 km (0.6 mi).

Mauna Loa is not erupting. The summit region continues to inflate. Seismic activity remains very low, with no earthquakes located in the summit area during the last seven days. Visit our website ( for daily volcano updates and nearly real-time earthquake information.

This article was written by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and is republished by with permission.

Hawaii Star Wire

Press releases, media advisories, and other announcements submitted to the Hawaii Star.

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