Tamar Elias


United States Geological Survey
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Hawai`i National Park, HI 96718, USA
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Research Expertise


Tamar Elias is involved in the development and testing of volcanic gas and aerosol measurement techniques, using Kilauea Volcano and its ongoing eruptions as a natural laboratory. Current projects include ground-based and airborne studies of SO2 and CO2 emission rates, development of a real-time volcanic gas monitoring network, and volcanic gas composition studies. A variety of methods are used in this work including mini-ultraviolet spectrometers (FLYSPEC), FTIR spectroscopy, and infrared and electro-chemical-based analyzers and sensors. She also works with the USGS Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP) and University of Hawai`i at Hilo Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes (CSAV) to train foreign observatory staff in gas monitoring techniques.
Another main research focus involves examining the effects of volcanic emissions on ambient air quality and human health, and has resulted in collaborations with other volcanologists, health professionals, and land and disaster management officials. Ongoing projects include participation as a co-investigator for a respiratory health study, and developing strategies for educating and alerting populations living adjacent to volcanic emission sources.


Relevant Publications

Elias, T., Sutton, A. J., Oppenheimer, C, Horton, K. A., Garbeil, H, Tsanev, V, McGonigle, A. J. S., and Williams-Jones, G. (2006) ‘Comparison of COSPEC and two miniature ultraviolet spectrometer systems for SO2 measurements using scattered sunlight’, Bulletin of Volcanology, 68, 313-322. 

Horton, K.A., Williams-Jones, G., Garbeil, H., Elias, T., Sutton, A.J., Mouginis-Mark, P., Porter, J.N., and Clegg, S. (2006) ‘Real-time measurement of volcanic SO2emissions: Validation of a new UV correlation spectrometer’, Bulletin of Volcanology, 68, 323-327.

Williams-Jones, G., Horton, K. A., Elias, T., Garbeil, H., Mouginis-Mark, P., Sutton, A.J., and Harris, A.J.L. (2006) ‘Accurately measuring volcanic plume speeds with multiple UV spectrometers’, Bulletin of Volcanology, 68, 328-332.

Sutton, A.J., Elias, T., and Kauahikaua, J. (2003) “Lava-effusion rates for the Pu`u `O`o-Kupaianaha eruption derived from SO2 emissions and very low frequency (VLF) measurementsU.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1676, p. 137-148.

Gerlach, T.M., McGee, K.A., Elias, T., Sutton, A.J., and Doukas, M.P. (2001) ‘CO2 degassing at Kilauea Volcano: implications for primary magma, summit reservoir dynamics, and magma supply monitoring’ [abs.]: Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union supp,  82(47), F1327.

Sutton, A.J., Elias, T., Gerlach, T.M., and Stokes, J.B. (2001) ‘Implications for eruptive processes as indicated by sulfur dioxide emissions from Kilauea Volcano, Hawai'i, 1979-1997’, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 108, 283-302.

Huebert, B., Vitousek, P., Sutton, J., Elias, T., Heath, J., Coeppicus, S., Howell, S., and Blomquist, B. (1999) ‘Volcano fixes nitrogen into plant-available forms’, Biogeochemistry, 47(1), 111-118.

Gerlach, T.M., McGee, K.A., Sutton, A.J., and Elias, T. (1998) ‘Rates of volcanic CO2 degassing from airborne determinations of SO2 emission rates and plume CO2/SO2: test study at Pu`u `O`o cone, Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii’, Geophysical Research Letters, 25(14), 2675-2678.

Realmuto, V.J., Sutton, A.J., and Elias, T. (1997) ‘Multispectral thermal infrared mapping of sulfur dioxide plumes: a case study from the east rift zone of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii’, Journal of Geophysical Research, 102(B7), 15,057-15,072. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/96JB03916

Sutton, J., and Elias, T. (1993) ‘Volcanic gases create air pollution on the island of Hawaii’, Earthquakes and Volcanoes, 24(4), 178-196.

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Latest News


Download our pamphlets on preparing for ashfall and on the health hazards of ash. They are designed for mass distribution at the onset of new eruptions. They are now avaiable in English, Japanese, French Spanish, Portuguese, Swahili, Indonesian and Icelandic with Italian versions being available shortly. Please see our Pamphlets page for further infomation.





IVHHN has an article under the Guidelines tab which used to be called 'Recommended Face Masks'. This has now been updated to 'Information on face masks' and is an interim page whilst the Health Interventions in Volcanic Eruptions project investigates which types of respiratory protection are effective in protecting the general population from volcanic ash inhalation. Please note that the translations in Spanish, Japanese and Portuguese have not yet been updated.



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