May 20: Sunday Eve News/Images Roundup

Today’s big activities were: (1) massive lava fountains/flows in the Lower East Rift Zone/Lower Puna, entering the ocean at two points (2 modest ash explosions from Halema’uma’u crater (they looked to me like the 10,000 foot range). I’m going to stop worrying about whether they’re triggered by steam explosions or rockfalls.

Late afternoon HNN update includes footage of lava entry into ocean:

Oh good, Mick’s posted the day’s flyover. Noisy helicopter, incredible views:

Also, the lava livestream continues. Someone posted a screencap with USGS scientists working below Fissure 20, giving a sense of scale:

KITV archived HVO’s afternoon alert:

4:03 p.m.


Moderate-level eruption of lava continues from multiple points along the northeast end of the active fissure system.

Residents in lower Puna should remain informed and heed Hawaii County Civil Defense closures, warnings, and messages (

Spattering continues from Fissures 6 and 17 with significant lava flows being erupted from Fissures 20.

Two of these lava flows from Fissure 20 reached the ocean along the southeast Puna coast overnight; however, a crack opened under the east lava channel early this morning diverting the lava from the channel into underground voids.

This may cause changes downslope in the channel system and the ocean entry.

HVO field crews are on site tracking the lava flow and spattering from multiple fissures as conditions allow and reporting information to Hawaii County Civil Defense.

For the most recent map showing the locations of activity, please see These maps are updated as often as possible but may not reflect the most recent changes.

Volcanic gas emissions have tripled as a result of the voluminous eruptions from Fissure 20 so SO2 concentrations are likely elevated to higher levels throughout the area downwind of the vents. Moderate trade winds today means that areas downwind of Kilauea gas emission sources may experience varying levels of vog. For forecast information, please see:

For other information about vog, please see:

This eruption is still evolving and additional outbreaks of lava are possible. Ground deformation continues and seismicity remains elevated in the area.

Future outbreaks could occur both uprift (southwest) and downrift (northeast) of the existing fissures, or, existing fissures can be reactivated. Communities downslope of these fissures could be at risk from lava inundation. Activity can change rapidly.


HawaiiNewsNow announces lava reaching the ocean Saturday night:

#BREAKING #LeilaniEstatesEruption #KilaueaVolcano: Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense Agency officials confirm that just before 11 PM Saturday, May 19 — a lava flow produced by fissure 20 outside of Lanipuna Gardens crossed Highway 137 south of mike marker 13 in an area known as Mālama Flats and began to pour into the ocean within minutes. Officials are warning folks to stay away from any ocean plume due to laze hazard. Laze is when hot lava hits the ocean sending hydrochloric acid and steam with fine glass particles into the air. Highway 137 is closed between Kamaʻili and Pohoʻiki Roads. Residents of Opihikao, Kamaʻili and Pohoʻiki are reminded should they choose to voluntarily evacuate — that the Pāhoa Community Center, Keaʻau Community Center, and Sure Foundation Church are open. The three shelters are pet friendly. Highway 130 is open as an access route — but drivers are asked to proceed with caution over the steel plates that have been placed over cracks along the roadway. *WATCH my #InstaStory #LIVE or click the link in my bio to watch our #FBLIVE for more footage* Stay tuned to @HawaiiNewsNow for the very latest developments #HInews #HawaiiNews #HNN #HawaiiNewsNow #WeAreYourSource

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Hawaii Civil Defense gave ocean entry location: “Two lava flows have entered the ocean off Highway 137 near MacKenzie State Park.”

The USGS shared news and photos of the lava entering the ocean.

Lava enteruing ocean from morning USGS flyover, May 20. Lava flows crusted over black in most of picture, ocean to upper left.

From USGS Photo/Media blog:

Late last night, the fissure 20 lava flow reached the ocean. Hotlava entering the ocean creates a dense white plume called “laze” (short for “lava haze”). Laze is formed as hot lava boils seawater to dryness. The process leads to a series of chemical reactions that result in the formation of a billowing white cloud composed of a mixture of condensed seawater steam, hydrochloric acid gas, and tiny shards of volcanic glass. This mixture has the stinging and corrosive properties of dilute battery acid, and should be avoided. Because laze can be blown downwind, its corrosive effects can extend far beyond the actual ocean entry area


BigIslandVideoNews provided a few more comments from HVO scientists about this disappearing lava flow.

Throughout the day, the Halema’uma