Haven’t been following Kilauea eruption news? This June 14 video from the National Park Service will bring you up to speed.
Or, if you have ~10 minutes to spare, this excellent history of Kilauea’s eruptions from the 1950s up to June 25, 2018 is worth watching, if nothing else for the clips of 1000-foot lava fountains in the 50s and 60s.
My blog is a daily digest of recent photos, videos, geology and local news stories about what’s happening at Kilauea Volcano. (Recommended post: Changes to Halema’uma’u)
The Lower East Rift Zone eruption has settled back into a routine. Unfortunately, that routine includes the far end of Fissure 8’s lava flow crawling south along the coast, eating landmarks in its path. Isaac Hale Park/Pohoiki boat ramp (see flow map) is next in line. The morning USGS overflight reported that the flow front was about 1km away.
Friday evening, July 13, 2018, 6:00 pm – Kilauea's east rift zone overflight: Lava continues to pour into the sea at…
Fissure 8 continues to erupt into its perched channel, with its volume surging after yesterday’s 7:08pm summit collapse (Mag 5.3) and returning to lower levels by morning. That pulse caused a brief overflow on the east/southeast of the channel a short way downstream from the vent, but it stayed on the apron of previous flows.
The channelized a’a flow west of Kapoho Crater continues to be the main conduit to the ocean and to the active flow expanding southwards along the shore. North of this, lava continues to “ooze out” at various points along the June-early July flow front, whose length now totals 6km (3.7 miles).
While there’s no sign of activity at any fissures besides 8, the tiny island that popped up just offshore of Kapoho yesterday is still there for now.
Fissure 8’s lava flow has settled into its new course, turning right just before Kapoho Cone and proceeding south-southeast to the ocean in a strong channelized a’a flow. Some lava, apparently following the earlier paths (lava tubes, maybe?) to the sea, is still squeezing out of the broad 6km (3.7) mile lava delta to the north of the new ocean entry.
A fascinating footnote: while the northern “ooze-outs” are weakening, a tiny lava island popped up just offshore of them last night, and it is itself oozing lava:
Today’s summit collapse occurred at 7:06pm HST, with the energy equivalent of a 5.3 earthquake, as usual. HVO is setting up a new livestream from Volcano House, but it’s not fully operational yet, so we made do with the ailing HVO webcam today (video clip).
Kīlauea Message Fri, 13 Jul 2018 21:53:34 HST: Following the 19:08 HST summit collapse explosion today there was an increase in activity from fissure 8 resulting in channel overflows on the south side of the flow near the vent.
Also, we’ve got a new view of ever-expanding Halema’uma’u Crater in Kilauea’s summit caldera this morning:
I couldn’t find a comparable aerial photo with the observatory and Jaggar in shot, but this 2009 photo of Halema’uma’u is facing in approximately the same direction. (Look for Crater Rim Rd behind the crater on the left, and note the parking lot obscured by the lava lake’s plume in 2009— lava lake, parking lot, and part of that road collapsed into the crater in June.)
Sadly, yesterday afternoon was the end of Kua O Ka La Charter School and Ahalanui Warm Ponds. The flow that diverted west of Kapoho Crater created a channelized a’a flow all the way to the ocean. There is now a strong ocean entry at what used to be Ahalanui Beach Park. There are still multiple “ooze-outs” along the northern lava flow front spanning former Kapoho Bay— it’s now 6 km, 3.7 miles across— “despite no visible surface connection to the fissure 8 channel.”
[Below: USGS 6am overflight, July 12: Fissure 8 perched lava channel, new diverted channel around Kapoho Crater, Ahalanui ocean entry.]
Speaking of the ocean entry, Bruce Omori of @HotSeatHawaii captured a startling offshore laze/steam/lava explosion just offshore:
Huge underwater explosion from Hawaii eruption. Bruce & Mick don't quite see it and I think the explanation for that is that the GoPro shoots such a wide angle that even though it looks like it is right in front of them, it was likely below their line of sight. pic.twitter.com/otJxmh9TAg
Transcript of Steve Brantley’s Tuesday evening presentation at the weekly community meeting, July 10, 2018.
Steve Brantley (HVO/USGS): Well, good evening. Thank you for turning out. I worked really hard this afternoon to prepare my very best presentation for you tonight, and lo and behold, somehow it didn’t end up on my jump drive. So for that, I apologize. And what I’ll do is basically recount the presentation, but you’ll have to— we can refer to the map up here.
So the overall picture is that the activity at Fissure 8 has not fundamentally changed. A high rate of lava is still being erupted, and we really haven’t noticed a change in that rate. At the summit, the volcano continues to subside very slowly over time, and periodically— now about once every 30 hours, or almost every day— the ground drops as much as two and a half meters or so in each drop, and results in a ground shaking that’s equivalent to about a magnitude 5 event.
Quite a lot happened today in the LERZ. Fissure 8 started overflowing again about 8:30-9am this morning. Unfortunately, some spillouts on the north side extended past the edges of previous flows, destroying three more homes in Leilani Estates, two on Luana St, one on Nohea.
Another blockage just west of Kapoho Crater last night diverted much of the main lava channel around the west side of the crater’s cone, rejoining the main flow field on the other side. It created a channelized a’a flow which skirted the southern edge of the existing lava field, and was a quarter mile from the coast and Ahalanui Warm Pond by noon. [Update 10pm HST: I’m seeing several unconfirmed reports on social media that it and Kua O Ka La Charter School were taken by lava late Wednesday afternoon or early evening.]
However, some lava is still being supplied to earlier ocean entry areas, either by still-molten lava that’s permeated the lava delta, or by a lesser supply of new lava following the old route around Kapoho Crater. This lava is working on building a point (it’s still not the easternmost point of the island, although the angle of the left-hand photo makes it appear so):
New lava channel on south side of existing channel and wraps around west side of Kapoho cone, lava within 2,000 ft of the coast at Ahalanui Beach Park. Summit collapse event occurred at 5:46 AM HST.https://t.co/7sDZqcOJ5spic.twitter.com/kkt3wI7XAy
Interestingly, today’s tardy summit collapse at 5:46am (M5.3 as usual) seems to have had some effect upon Fissure 8. There’s been speculation that might be occurring, but it wasn’t confirmed until now. According to the HVO update: “The collapse/explosive event this morning was followed by an increase in lava from the fissure 8 vent which has produced small overflows from the upper channel that are threatening a few homes on Nohea and Luana streets.”
Fissure 22 continues to sputter quietly and intermittently, so the sluggish flow it was emitting a week or so ago has cooled.
[Note: this is when the overflows around Kapoho Crater got started, but the main flow front/ocean entry was still mostly north.]
I was hoping NLTV would post a video of last Tuesday evening’s Pahoa Community meeting as they usually do, since BigIslandVideoNews records Steve Brantley’s slideshows by pointing the camera at him and skipping most of the slides, but no such luck.
The chaos of yesterday has settled down a bit. Stormy weather has moved out, most of the overflows up-channel from Kapoho Crater have stopped, and lava is has returned to the main channel leading to the ocean, although not at the same volume as before. Yesterday’s breakout flow towards Cinder Road stalled last night. As of 4AM this morning, the only overflows still active were on the south (brown) side of the lava channel, including a new side-flow on the west side of Kapoho Crater (ocean is in the background haze):
It sounds like the southern edge of the ocean entry area has stalled too, giving Ahalanui Pond a respite (although the lava’s very, very close). But the northern side has continued to ooze as well. Today’s report from the mayor’s office said two of the the three remaining Kapoho Beach Lots homes were lost to lava in the past day or so.
There’s still multiple “ooze out” fingers along the edge of the delta in addition to the main channel. And Fissure 22 continues to sputter weakly.
As of 10pm HST, we’re still waiting for the next collapse/explosion at the summit. (Should we be calling them explosions any more, or just collapses?)
In the meantime, the USGS has updated the caldera subsidence timelapse from Keanakāko‘i Overlook:
Wild weather, overflows and significant channel reorganization have made the Lower East Rift Zone more interesting today than those living near Bryson’s cinder pit would like.
Sunrise overflights by the USGS and @hotseathawaii spotted a torrential downpour centered directly over the upper lava flow (above). A rain gauge in Leilani Estates measured 9.22″ rainfall at 7am for the past 24 hours; another just a little farther away measured 6″ over the same span. All that updraft, convection and condensation even produced a modest… lavaspout…? captured on video (strong language warning):
The Kapoho end of the LERZ eruption was even more chaotic. Over the weekend, several non-USGS sources had reported that lava was starting to shift back to the south after passing Kapoho Crater, forming a slow-moving flow headed for Ahalanui Ponds (and sparing 3 of the 4 remaining Kapoho Beach Lots houses). This morning, HVO status updates confirmed the change: “The main lava channel has reorganized and is nearly continuous to the ocean on the south side of the flow, expanding the south margin by several hundred meters.” Also, while the ocean entry was still a very broad 2.5 mile front at sunrise, it’s started to coalesce a bit and shift towards the south:
However, blockages in the braided section of the lava river caused further havoc later in the day. HVO’s afternoon status update reported that, “Early this afternoon, observers reported multiple overflows occurring along both sides of the main lava channel, in an area extending from near the ‘Y’ intersection at Pohoiki Road eastwards to an area just west of Kapoho Crater. Overflows on the upper part of the channel did not extend beyond areas previously covered in lava. Overflows further down the channel have reached beyond the flow field, including one flow lobe that is moving northeast from the main channel towards Cinder Rd.”
[HVO afternoon status update cont’d] “Based on information from ground observers and morning and afternoon overflights, the lower part of the main lava channel has undergone significant reorganization. In particular, the channel that had been open near Four Corners is now mostly crusted over, and plumes from ocean entry are significantly reduced. It is likely this is due to a blockage that formed in the early morning in the main channel upstream of Kapoho Crater. Flow volumes coming out of Fissure 8 remain significant, and it is possible that changes in flow channels will continue to occur in the coming days.”
Meanwhile, up at the summit, it’s business as usual. This morning’s collapse event occurred at 9:20am, registering once again as 5.3:
USGS posted yesterday’s thermal map first thing this morning, plus a 2pm map today showing these changes:
Tina Neal, HVO: Good morning, everyone. Just to give you an update on what’s going on at Kilauea Volcano. In the Lower East Rift Zone, the effusive eruption of lava continues with little significant change from the last few days. The Fissure 8 spatter cone continues to produce a pretty vigorous river of lava in an open channel that heads to the northeast and then turns southeast, then enters the ocean about 8 miles downflow.
One of the interesting things observed by our field crews during the overflight this morning is that the channel system in the lower portion of this lava flow where it ends up into the ocean has gone through some changes. And this is an interesting phenomenon, reorganization, that we’re trying to understand. It appears at times that the channel is very vigorous all the way to the ocean, and at other times it sort of diminishes and just becomes a broad, rubbly front. As of this morning, the channel was mostly on the southern side of the flow, and the margin of the flow is expanding a little bit to the south. So there’s some very interesting channel dynamics going on in this lava flow in the lower portion that really doesn’t [act??] its behavior as it spreads out and enters the ocean.
The LERZ continues as usual, although there are tantalizing hints that change could be on the way:
Fissure 8 gushes within its large cone, Fissure 22 continues to spatter weakly. The open lava channel from Fissure 8 now ends about 2km (1.2 mi) from the coast:
From the end of the channel, the lava dives under the crust of the slightly older flows that buried Kapoho Bay. It emerges again along a very broad ocean entry:
According to USGS/HVO, the ocean entry is “primarily along the northern section,” as it has been for the past few weeks. However, to judge by today’s @hotseasthawaii overflight, there’s notable ocean entries to the south as well. Besides the lava that reaches the ocean, USGS reported lava “oozing out” to the north and southwest of the main a’a field just inland, as one can see on Friday’s thermal map. A few Kapoho Beach Lots houses are hanging on, threatened by the northern “ooze-out.” The southwestern “ooze-out” — several local photographers have reported an unconfirmed “southern lobe” lava flow— is within a few hundred yards of Ahalanai Warm Pond and Kua O Ka La Charter School:
Screencap from early morning July 8 HotseatHawaii overflight. Ahalanui Warm Pond is just at the end of that straight stretch of Hwy 137, and the school is the light-colored patch just to the right of it. (Full-sized)