June 14: The Face of Pele

Let me pause my science-blogging for a moment and direct your attention to a very special visitor in yesterday’s Tropical Visions overflight video.

About timestamp 0:30 in June 13 overflight video, Madame Pele’s profile appears in the partly-cooled lava. Mahalo to Tutu Pele, to Mick Kalber for his tireless aerial videography, and to my mother for pointing her out to me. [Although it sounds like Mick took the day off, and I should thank Mick’s co-photographer lavajavadude.]

Now, how do I transition from that back to the science side of Kilauea?

Today’s Eruption Summary

Last night and today, Fissure 8’s fountains have rebounded to 200 feet, but the cinder/spatter cone they’ve built is so tall they’re just peeking out:

USGS: “The Fissure 8 viewed from the north at 7:50 AM. The cone is roughly 50 m (165 ft) high at is peak, and a plume of sulfur dioxide and other volcanic gases rises as an orange tinge from the erupting lava fountains (hidden within the cone). Lava is still flowing out of the vent unabated as a full channel. To the left of the cone, a standing wave of lava can be seen in the channel.” (Full-sized)

Fissures 16 and 17 continue to “ooze,” to borrow the USGS’ technical term.

Fissure 8’s lava river remains fast, wide and healthy. It stays incandescent red rather than skimmed over for many miles, which shows just how hot and voluminous it is (26,000 gallons/second). It’s entering the ocean along a dramatically broad front (second half of video clip):

Today’s summit explosion (energy equivalent of M5.3, like clockwork) occurred at 3:19am HST, with an ash plume to 6,000 feet. Again, there were lots of earthquakes in the hours leading up to it, then they dropped off, and now they’re ramping back up to the next explosion. This pattern must be getting pretty old for the nearby residents of Volcano.

After the cut:

USGS info on the ongoing eruption, timelapses of recent changes at the summit, Kilauea-related news, and more stunning photos.

Continue reading June 14: The Face of Pele