Puna residents watch with a sinking feeling of “I told you so” as a ponderous a’a flow crossed Pahoa Pohoiki Road slightly north of the geothermal plant, inching towards it. Officials think they’ve got the wells quenched (I notice they quietly dropped the idea of plugging them), and that they’re safe.
Meanwhile, Fissure 7 is causing trouble in all directions; its lava pond has sent another flow “cascading into Pawaii crater” (6:15pm). Looking at the map, I’m betting that crater is an old vent from a previous fissure eruption just like this one. In addition to fluid/runny pahoehoe flows, some of the longer flows are a’a.
The summit has also been busy today, with three ash explosions reaching the ~10,000 foot height between midnight and dawn, and some reaching “as high as 12-13K‘ [above sea level]” this morning. Reminder: Kilauea is 4009 feet above sea level (asl).
USGS webcam of LERZ. Grabbed just before midnight, May 26. Is that a lava flow coming towards the camera?
I do believe it is. Has that lava pond broken loose?
Lava tally as of Saturday morning: 41 houses, 82 structures total. A further 37 homes isolated by lava crossing roads. Lava has covered 3.7 square miles/2372 acres so far.
Here’s the usual roundup of the day’s eruption news, astonishing views, and geeky info by geologists:
USGS Morning Status Update With Wendy Stovall
- Summit very active recently.
- >300 earthquakes in past 48 hrs, dozen+ between M3 and M4
- Continued subsidence. 5 feet drop around Halema’uma’u.
- Deflation causing rockfalls, more ash plumes
- 3 ash explosions yesterday reached 10K ft asl; smaller ones also
- Lower East Rift Zone: center fissures active; eastern edge Leilani Estates
- Fissure 8 reactivated but main activity is still 7 & 21
- they’re sending 2 lava channels down to coast
- 2 ocean entries, western might be forming a lava tube
HVO Photos and Videos
Why do I keep reposting these when they’re on the Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory website? Because only the past ten days’ entries are available on their Photo & Video Chronology page. Anything earlier can only be accessed by searching, because the “Archive” stopped updating in 2010.
So. Today USGS posted a photo of a textbook a’a lava flow which will be handy for answering questions.
This is the flow creeping towards PGV.
Also posted by HVO, a vent which reminds me of Stromboli’s gassy vents, although without the distinctive on-off-on-off action:
Here’s the two lava ocean entry points now. Reportedly the western one (farther away) is skimming over on top, trying to build itself a lava tube.
USGS photo of Fissure 22 from above.
— USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) May 26, 2018
A lot of confused people watching HCB’s livestream thought the “volcano had stopped” or “the eruption was dying down” Friday because those spatter ramparts had built so they were concealing the fountains and deflecting the lava south. Plus, of course, it had died down a bit with Fissure 7, 21, etc grabbing some of the lava further up the pipes.
Morning Helicopter Flyover (with noise):
#LeilaniEstatesEruption #KilaueaVolcano LATEST: USGS confirms there are still 2 ocean entry points. Flow further to the west looks like it has started to tube over. Geologists notice blockage in the flow from fissure 6 and 21 https://t.co/lRDHBnmElF @HawaiiNewsNow #HINews pic.twitter.com/OA7hqx2Say
— Mileka Lincoln (@MilekaLincoln) May 26, 2018
Articles/Posts By GeologistS
Thanks, Google: “New Developments and a little history from Kilauea.” I remember this post! Magma Cum Laude blogger Jessica Ball, at the time a postdoc geology student, took a guided tour with Don Swanson showing students around Kilauea Caldera just before the Halemaumau lava lake formed. She’s got lots of lovely geeky details about the 1924 debris field, with photos of some blocks Don pointed out.
Ah, here’s some lovely random pahoehoe today. (Just because.)
— Kristen Consillio (@kconsillio) May 27, 2018
News Reports From Local Stations
- KITN article: “Lava very active in Leilani Estates” with evening news clip and transcript. Excellent video taken earlier today of a’a and pahoehoe flows, fountains.
- HawaiiNewsNow article: lava approaching the PGV plant, with synopsis of what the plant has or hasn’t done to make it secure. Slow-moving a’a flow about 250 yards away from wells Saturday afternoon.
- HNN article: Report on threats to Highway 132, 130, only exit roads left to parts of Puna.
This combination of satellite images shows an area by the Kilauea volcano near Pahoa, Hawaii, on May 24, 2017, top, and on May 14 2018, bottom, after the recent volcanic activity pic.twitter.com/6Yt2JKWoOI
— Aslı Perinçek (@AsliPerincek) May 27, 2018
- HNN article: Explosions ramp up at Kilauea’s summit as ash clouds soar to 11,000 feet. “Consistent” with steam explosions. (As opposed to just rocks falling in and blasting apart when they hit the hot lava)
- Star-Advertiser: Kilauea crater explosions send ash plumes 12,000 feet above sea level (article has updates throughout the day on ash, Leilani lava, and high SO2 around Kamili Road in Puna.)
- Star-Advertiser: Video interview with Marines preparing for helicopter evacuations should lava flows cross escape routes.
- HPR article: “Far-reaching effects of Kilauea Eruption” Talking to residents of Puna and Volcano Village dealing with vog, SO2, earthquakes, ash. Volcano resident Catherine Robbins says the caldera subsided 12 feet during 1924 events; I wish I could find expert confirmation on that.
- KITN has another sad article on “Big Island businesses suffer downturn from eruption.“
- KITN interview (video & transcript) of USGS geologist Janet Babb: “Geologist weighs in on the future of lower Puna.” Answer hazy, try again later.
- BigIslandVideoNews video shows what it’s like in Leilani right now, talking to one of the residents still doing neighborhood watch while huge wall of a’a lava and 50-foot fountains rise over a street behind him and onlookers.
Kilauea On Social Media
From Mileka Lincoln’s news reports to HNN throughout the day. a couple of raw clips of lava with no commentary:
#LeilaniEstatesEruption #KilaueaVolcano LATEST: New video shows the fissure on Leilani Ave off of Pohoiki Rd near the Puna Geothermal Venture plant where residents say they can see lava pooling; USGS confirms a perched lava pond https://t.co/Q44ndL3vgt @HawaiiNewsNow #HINews pic.twitter.com/n3ZvrZpeiH
— Mileka Lincoln (@MilekaLincoln) May 26, 2018
#LeilaniEstatesEruption #KilaueaVolcano LATEST: Puna Geothermal Venture officials confirm lava flow has NOT reached the 40 acres of their operational plant site,but appears to be heading that way after crossing Pohoiki Rd going west https://t.co/2fnRfCb1xF @HawaiiNewsNow #HINews pic.twitter.com/yiQb4allFc
— Mileka Lincoln (@MilekaLincoln) May 27, 2018
Someone deserves an engineering prize:
So, this is the site of sensor 20 – which was overtaken by ‘a’a lava flow last night. As of a few minutes ago, it was (somehow) still alive and reporting data..#KilaueaErupts #AirQuality #AtmosChem pic.twitter.com/Cu7jDdMdLy
— David Hagan (@DHagan7) May 27, 2018
I always hesitate to give people taking foolhardy risks any publicity, but here’s a fascinating up-close of a newly-solidified (?) pahoehoe flow. Now I finally understand why it’s sometimes described as “ropey”:
Since the outside of lava cools and solidifies while the inside is still molten, it’s scarily possible for it to look solid and give way when you put weight on it. That’s a hideous way to win a Darwin Award.