May 22: Late Night News Roundup – More PGV Worries


First of all, Honolulu Civil Beat posted a video of Fissure 22 while his livestream cam  showcases the Fissure 20 complex.

Not that it really matters which is which, but I like to know what I’m looking at. 22 is sending lava down to the ocean (and the geothermal plant.)

May 22 East Rift Zone Fissure Map by USGS

I think the livestream house is on that raised bump to the right of “PGV,” with the camera pointed SE. I guess this map was devised when 20 was having a low spell earlier today.

Mick Kalber’s usual stunning flyover vid including rivers of lava and lava flows meeting the sea:

Okay, now that we know where we are, what’s happening? Good images, clips and news tidbits after the cut. The main story today was concerns about lava encroaching on the PGV geothermal plant, and the hazards it poses. But first…

From the USGS:

HVO posted a wide-angle of the lava ocean entry; be sure to look at full-sized with source lava fountains in the background.

USGS Photo of lava entering ocean, May 22, 2018

Hard to believe there was a forest where all that black lava was on Thursday; most of the lava in this views has arrives since then.

May 22 USGS Status Update is pretty routine now, if one can ever use that word when there’s two different types of eruptions at the head and foot of a volcano:

Wendy Stovall: “At the summit there have been several explosions, sending ash plumes not up to 10,000 feet, just a little bit below that… In the East Rift Zone we’ve had a couple of fissures reactivated— 6 reactivated overnight— and fissures 22, 6 and 19 are still sending flows that are going down to the south.  And some are starting to flow a little bit to the north.” [encroaching on geothermal plant.]

USGS Multimedia page: “Solidified lava from Fissure 17 (located to the east of the currently active fissure complex) has a consistency similar to toothpaste.”

Geologist Maddie Stone has a good article discussing “Kilauea’s Lava Is Changing—Here’s What That Means” . It mentions that Fissure 17 really was unusual (spectacularly tall fountaining plus cinder cone Friday, loud explosions, losing most of its pep Saturday but still sputtering away with rare booms):

Wow! Grandma lava. Andesite is usually only found on subduction zone volcanoes, I think? It’s named after the Andes.

Geologist Robin Andrews also wrote an article on the changeover in lava today, mostly covering the same ground, but he saved a shocker for the last line! Alas, I’ve failed to find any videos of it.

Video from yesterday’s USGS flyover

By the way, here’s an Interview/article with the man hit by a lava bomb. (Explainer: photos of lava bombs, large blobs of molten rock that coalesce into a “bomb” or football shape and may shatter on impact.) I think he was hit by Fissure 17. If that really is 1924 lava, then he was nearly killed by the same vintage lava that killed Kilauea’s last direct victim. (Others have died exploring fresh lava flows near the coast, ignoring keep-out barriers. But Kilauea didn’t throw anything at them.)

BigIslandVideoNews:  CivilDefense update has pretty amazing lava plain footage from Monday night. Daytime May 22 is also impressive:



On Puna Geothermal Ventures plant:

I get the impression that HNN reporter Mileka Lincoln doesn’t trust Puna Geothermal Ventures, don’t you? At least officials other than PGV spokespersons are claiming the plant is “essentially safe” (with some unreassuring caveats). Here’s a dramatic day-old video of the lava which has “stalled” (for the moment) on the edge of the geothermal plant’s property line. As of Tuesday evening, 10 wells are quenched, while they had to use a stopgap on one. See Civil Beat’s article tonight on PGV for the full scoop.


Brief article on HawaiiNewsNow on the community of Pahala, where ashfall is causing problems.

Scary article on a fissure eating a house!

Some lovely photos from the Keeper of the Livestream:

And a wider-angle view than the livestream cam normally shows:

And on a sobering note, Honolulu National Weather Service’s Twitter has now started posting ash advisories for downwind communities whenever the summit crater gives another poof:

Okay, there’s probably more fascinating pictures out there, but it’s late and I’m tired.