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.
People continue to golf as an ash plume rises in the distance from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii. pic.twitter.com/bAxOAA9zkN
— ESPN (@espn) May 16, 2018
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.”
Halemauamau erupting on Hawaii RIGHT NOW. Thanks to @bigislandflow!
Halemauamau is part of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii.#geology #science #eruption #ash #hawaii #magma #leilanieruption #volcano pic.twitter.com/vaWNSxe1aY
— Rockodile Boyce (@volcanojulie) May 15, 2018
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.