May 30: Pele Makes A Run For Four Corners

Today’s Eruption Summary

In fact, the current lava eruptions in Puna are as hot as Hawaii’s lava will ever get. “It can’t get hotter than where we are,” Stovall added. “We are pretty much tapping mantle temperatures right now.”

Honolulu Civil Beat

USGS Photo – Caption: “Lava flow erupted from fissure 8, photographed during HVO’s early morning overflight today. The lava channel was estimated to be about 100 feet wide.” (Full-sized)

Fissure 8 is beauty & the beast. Since Saturday it’s been pumping out a huge volume of lava, creating pahoehoe and even a’a flows that occasionally surge up to ~600yards/hour. Yesterday its main flow headed NE, skirted the geothermal plant, crossed and followed Hwy 132 for a while, and then started downslope past Noni Farms towards Four Corners, threatening to cut off Kapoho and Lower Puna.

Amazing overflight photo of Fissure 8 and its lava flow taken on May 29 by Hawaii Civil Defense. (Full-sized)

In the early morning hours, officials went door-to-door in the Kapoho area ordering emergency evacuations.  Newly-paved Beach Rd was pressed into service as a one-way evacuation route from Four Corners to Hawaiian Beaches. But it’s a race against time, as the lava is headed for that very road.

[ETA: Mick Kalber’s flyover. He’s always got notes on the video’s page.]

I saw no PGV news today, which is good. The summit produced yet more ash & earthquakes, one a pretty good thump (Mag 5.3 at 10:57am, no tsunami). Meanwhile, Fissure 18 is sending a channelized flow towards Hwy 137, just a little east of last week’s flows to the ocean:


(Here’s the fissure map used in this presentation, or the May 29 thermal map shows flows more clearly)

Steve Brantley (summary): Most active, fissure 8 for a couple days. Feeding lava NNE. 18 sending flow east. (noon overflight view) Tall height of fissure 8 (200 ft) sends out pieces of lava or spatter, also Pele’s hair, wafted up by heat and carried on winds. Strands of volcanic glass; be careful in touching/brushing because it shatters to shards/needles. Photos/aerial views of fissure 8 a’a flow encroaching on hwy 132, heading towards path weakest descent.

More of Tuesday night meeting: Puna Highways & Escape Route | Puna Geothermal Update | Power Outages, Service Disruptions | Mayor Harry Kin’s Speech

May 30 USGS Morning Update

USGS Wendy Stoval. Transcript here.

Summary: Fissure 8 flow towards Four Corners, fissure 18 flow towards ocean near Warm Ponds. Explosion that sent ash up 15,000 feet “two nights ago” registered as earthquake but was actually pressure wave.

Also the Lava Update Blog has archived HVO’s May 30 Kilauea Update (separate from the briefing above) from HVO’s Updates Page, which only displays the most recent 10 bulletins.

USGS eruption maps May 30

USGS Thermal map May 30, NOON (remember, they’re moving fast):

USGS thermal map of lower Puna just after noon. Remember, this lava is moving fast. (Full-sized)

USGS posted two fissure maps for May 30. Here’s the second at 3PM:

USGS 3pm May 30 fissure map. (Full-sized)

Also see Hawaii County’s civil defense map, updated fairly often. Red dots with timestamps are position of lava flows.

USGS Images and video

Animation: Changes at the Summit

Today the summit was mostly obscured by fog and rain, with the webcam showing occasional glimpses of the “gas and steam plume being emitted from Halema’uma’u.” (USGS)

Enlargement of Overlook Vent in Halema’uma’u Crater, May 5-29. USGS Caption: ” The May 5 image was acquired before any small explosions occurred from the summit. The May 17, 21, and 29 images show changes to the summit area after the onset of small explosions and ash emissions. Major changes over time include: (1) a darkening of the terrain south of Halema‘uma‘u, which reflects accumulation of ash; (2) enlargement of the summit eruptive vent on the floor of Halema‘uma‘u. The apparent slumping of the east rim of Halema‘uma‘u is not actual motion of the ground, but is an effect of the radar viewing angle, which is from the side instead of being straight down.” (Full-sized)

Video: Fissure 8 tossing tephra, and a video clip of the cooled tephra bits falling on a nearby road.  Easier to see on a larger screen:

Video and article: “Follow the Drone to Safety” 

See full explanation and larger-sized version of this video archived on the USGS Multimedia gallery here. TL;DR: A drone guided a resident to first responders, and drones helped first responders reach him and lead him out.

Nice archive of eruption images:

May 30 8AM Civil Defense Alert (text)

Today’s alerts cont’d: Earthquake info 11am | 12pm update on lava advance  (video version) | 6pm update: Fissure 8 flow 2.5 miles from Four Corners; Fissure 18 flow half mile from Hwy 137 near Ahalanui County Park

Reports from local news media

Wow. Evening news clip for HNN:

#LeilaniEstatesEruption #KilaueaVolcano LATEST (May 30 at 8:30 PM): Fissure 8 continues to fire tonight shooting lava upwards of 200 feet into the air. The fountain from fissure 8 is feeding a lava flow that rushed out of #LeilaniEstates, crossed Highway 132 after passing through Puna Geothermal Venture, and is now trekking toward Four Corners (the Highway 132/ Highway 137 intersection) which is threatening the coastal communities of Kapoho and Vacationland — forcing their evacuation. According to Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense agency officials, the flow from fissure 8 is approximately 2 ½ miles from Four Corners and a flow from fissure 18 is about a half-a-mile from Highway 137, north of Ahalanui County Park. USGS geologists who have studied Kīlauea Volcano for decades say the intensity of the lava fountaining from fissure 8 in Leilani Estates is unlike anything they have ever experienced or imagined seeing — certainly not in the middle of a populated, residential community. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory officials say the lava fountaining out of fissure 8 is definitely coming from Puʻu ʻŌʻō and they say it’s the hottest lava they’ve ever seen. According to one geologist: “Lava can’t get hotter than where we are.” *Watch my #InstaStory #LIVE for more* Stay tuned to @HawaiiNewsNow for the very latest developments #HInews #HawaiiNews #HNN #HawaiiNewsNow #WeAreYourSource

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Random social media roundup:

#LeilaniEstatesEruption #KilaueaVolcano UPDATE (May 30 at 3:45 PM): According to Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s Dr. Jim Kauahikaua, the leading edge of the lava flow produced by a very active fissure 8 in #LeilaniEstates is now 2.5 miles from Four Corners — and although it still appears to be heading in that direction, it has slowed to a rate of 45-80 yards per hour. At its highest speed, it was racing east toward the Highway 132 / Highway 137 intersection around 600 yards per hour. Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense Agency Administrator Talmadge Magno says he intends to provide reentry access to Kapoho area evacuees for as long as safely possible. However, just like the evacuees of #LeilaniEstates — these residents will need to be out by 6 PM each night. An estimated 500 homes in the Kapoho area are included in the expanded evacuation since the fast-moving flow from fissure 8 sent pāhoehoe lava crossed Highway 132 after passing through Puna Geothermal Venture and started trekking east along Highway 132 toward Four Corners. Magno estimated there are around 2,500 people who have been displaced since the first fissure opened on Mohala Street on May 3. According to Civil Defense, 75 houses have been claimed by lava — which at last check has covered more than 3,200 acres. Keep in mind Highway 137 or Beach Road is still closed between Pohoiki and Kamaʻili Roads where the lava crossed and is still trickling into the ocean. The only way into areas southwest of Kamaʻili Road — like Kalapana and Kaimu — is using Highway 130 where several steel plates are covering cracks along the road, which continue to widen and release steam but where no sulfur dioxide has been detected yet. However, officials have lowered the speed limit to 25 mph. You are advised to make necessary plans and monitor your radio or phone for Civil Defense alerts. Stay tuned to @HawaiiNewsNow for the very latest developments #HInews #HawaiiNews #HNN #HawaiiNewsNow #WeAreYourSource (Photos: Andrew Richard Hara @andrewrichardhara taken earlier today)

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