May 15: Still Not the Big One

May 15, 11:05 AM: A major ash explosion up to 12,000 feet — which HVO still guesses was caused by rockfall into the receding lava lake— prompted HVO to raise the aviation alert level to RED, warning aircraft to stay away from the summit and ash hazards.

Unfortunately, news media took this RED ALERT to be “major eruption imminent,” instead of “no more imminent than it already is, since, as a matter of fact, it’s already erupting. But it could increase activity.”

USGS Geologist @DrJanineKrippner has been playing whack-a-mole on Twitter rumors and addressed “Kilauea’s Alert Level Was Just Raised To Red – But What Does That Actually Mean?” on IFLScience, reiterating that it was mostly an aviation alert. So did volcanologist Erik Klemetti, with a good writeup of today’s steam explosions and fissure activity on his Rocky Planet blog.