Today’s Eruption Update:
Last night, USGS scientist Steve Brantley explained the current eruption in an informative 10 minute talk. I transcribed it as a separate post, but here’s a rough summary: Magma heading down to the Lower East Rift Zone is causing the summit to deflate. Deflation is causing a pattern of more and more earthquakes over 30-50 hours until the summit releases the strain with an explosion, accompanied by an ash cloud.
Sure enough, there was an M5.6 explosion and 10,000 foot ash cloud at 4:32pm. HVO’s Twitter account had a great impromptu Q&A session about it (see below).
Meanwhile, down in the Lower East Rift Zone, Fissure 8 shows no signs of slowing. It’s wiped out Vacationland and nearly all of Kapoho Beach Lots, and is continuing to create new (crumbly, hazardous) beachfront real estate.
USGS has also been posting some striking imagery today.
Video description: “HVO’s mid-day overflight on June 5 shows ongoing partial collapse of Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano. To the north of the former visitor Overlook parking area (closed in 2008) is the site of the former lava lake—now a deep hole piled with wall-rock rubble. The western portion of Halema‘uma‘u has moved down and toward the center of the crater as new cracks form on the caldera floor to the west. Kīlauea’s summit continues to subside due to withdrawal of magma towards the volcano’s East Rift Zone.”
They’ve also posted drone footage of Fissure 8 lava flow on June 3. Houses give a sense of scale:
Here’s this morning’s USGS helicopter overflight of Fissure 8:
More images, lots of great geology info below the cut. But first, a 2-minute USGS briefing, since we skipped yesterday’s:
Continue reading June 6: Summit Explosions Explained (And Predicted!)