May 27: First Well Covered; Emergency Evacuations From Fast-Moving Lava

The dramatic light show I noticed on the East Rift Zone webcam last night was probably from fissure 7, featured on today’s Mick Kalber helicopter flyover (warning: noisy).

(Blog post: Mick Kalber’s observations from this flight)

Most of today’s news is about marauding lava flows in the Lower East Rift Zone, but the ESA just posted another satellite radar image of changes at Kilauea’s summit:

[EDIT] Things got a little TOO exciting this evening, and I kept having to update this post…

This morning was relatively quiet. Civil Air Patrol did a flyover of Kilauea’s summit caldera today so we can see what Halema’uma’u looks like:

USGS Caption: Aerial view of Kīlauea Volcano’s summit caldera and an ash plume billowing from Halema‘uma‘u, a crater within the caldera. The USGS–Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s Jaggar Museum are visible on the caldera rim (center right); Kīlauea Military Camp can be seen in the lower right. Photo courtesy of the Civil Air Patrol. (Full-sized photo)

Another view of fissure 7 lighting up the sky last night:

Another view from the USGS today:

And here’s one of the lava flows that fountain is producing:

May 27, USGS Photo: Pahoehoe flow advances up Leilani Bld from Fissure 7 fountain in background. (Full-sized photo, worth a look)

Which started moving along at an alarmingly fast clip late in the day.

Also, an interesting before-and-after video clip of Fissure 6:


If you’re a Facebook member, you can ask questions of @USGSVolcanoes. If not, you can still access their new FAQs:


May 27, 2:30PM <a href="">USGS fissure map</a>. See <a href="">full-sized.</a>

News from Hawaii Civil Defense

The USGS daily briefing video isn’t up yet, but the Hawaii Civil Defense alerts page includes info relayed to them from USGS. Important excerpts:

6AM10AM, 3PM bulletin: “The Hawaii Department of Transportation reports they are lowering the speed limit on Highway 130, between Leilani Estates and Kamaili Road, to 25 miles per hour….
[…]Lava flow crossed into PGV property overnight but has not impacted any wells. A special task force headed by Tom Travis continues to work to make the wells safe and to prevent any threats to the public from developing.  There is no hydrogen sulfide detected.  The public will be kept informed of the situation.
Volcanic gases and vog emissions may increase in areas down wind of the vents in the lower east rift zone.”

6PM bulletin: “Lava flow from Fissures 7 and 21 crossed into PGV property overnight and has now covered one well that was successfully plugged.  That well, along with a second well 100 feet away, are stable and secured, and are being monitored.  Also due to preventative measures, neither well is expected to release any hydrogen sulfide.”

7:45PM bulletinLeilani Estates residents on Nohea St and Luana St between Leilani Ave and Kahukai, and Kupono Street between Malama Street and Leilani Avenue need to evacuate immediately due to a fast moving lava flow from Fissure 7. 

UPDATE: Sunday evening USGS press briefing

USGS Jim Kauahikaua— he’s losing his voice from fumes and/or too much talking to press, but I think I’ve got the gist:

  • Fissures 6 and 8 reactivated
  • 22 & 13 still main vents feeding lava flows south to ocean
  • 2 ocean entries but weaker today
  • Biggest producer vent 7; its north flow towards PGV, south channel may reach ocean in next day or two.
  • Lobe heading for PGV stalled 6-7AM, stable most of day, reactivated in afternoon
  • Another lobe headed northeast, might reach highway [He said 130, later corrected to 132] behind PGV
  • Summit: continuous emissions with ash, one reached 10,000 feet ~noon
  • Summit still deflating; LERZ is stable (“in terms of expansion or earthquakes”)
  • Gas emissions in both areas quite high
  • Fissure 24 opened this morning, slow, filling pre-eruption crack, probably will die out.
  • LERZ webcam showing Fissure 7 which had 200 foot fountains today:
Screencap of USGS’ webcam overlooking LERZ I snapped this afternoon. Fissure 7 = red spot.


Video clip of National Guard Major Jeff Hickman talking about increasingly dangerous Fissure 7:

[UPDATE] Things got considerably more exciting just after I uploaded tonight’s post.

First, Civil Defense issued an emergency evacuation order (turn down the volume):

And then news came that someone was trapped and couldn’t find a way out.

The drone story isn’t confirmed (a pity; I rather like the idea of using drones as guide dogs to avoid risking first responders) but the man was led out by firefighters, using a back way.

So yeah. That was quite an evening in Leilani Estates.