Lava fountains rise and fall, but the river they feed remains the same: a vigorously-flowing channel down to a wide ocean entry, with occasional small overflows slopping over the levees (banks). Last night, Fissure 8’s fountains were reaching 200 feet; today they dropped again to 100-130 feet with bursts up to 180. Its cinder cone, built of spatter and tephra falling around the fountains, is now 170 feet tall.
When is somebody going to name this pu’u?
Frequency of earthquakes ramped up Thursday night, with more M3s than before. Today’s M5.3 summit explosion was late, finally popping at 11:56am, sending up an ash-poor (?) cloud 10,000 feet. HVO: “It didn’t produce a distinct plume, which is why we say ‘ash and gases’ instead.” This cycle of daily explosive events has been going on since May 26 or 29, depending on how rigidly one defines the pattern.
For a decade before that, there had been an active lava lake at its summit, nestled inside Halemaʻumaʻu Crater inside a larger caldera. There was also a side vent on the volcano’s shoulder, Puʻu ʻŌʻō, erupting lava for 35 years.
On April 30, the pipes burst under Puʻu ʻŌʻō. All the lava from it and the summit lava lake drained down a “rift zone” (faults and cracks) to a residential area 25 miles away, on the southeast tip of the island. Lava started erupting in the Lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) on May 3, and continued through early August.
With all that magma (lava when it’s underground) draining away from the summit of the volcano, Halemaʻumaʻu Crater fell in, and the larger caldera around it sank hundreds of feet as well, revealing sulfur banks and other features not seen since Mark Twain visited in the 1800s. These changes didn’t happen all at once, but in stages. During July there were almost daily collapses with shaking equivalent to an M5.3 earthquake (see my video archive).
This blog is a record of the 2018 Kīlauea eruption, with photos, videos, and info from scientists who study it. I posted daily for the first three months of the eruption, and switched to weekly after the lava in the LERZ stopped gushing and the summit stopped collapsing in on itself.
There’s still a little activity— this volcano almost never goes completely quiet— but for now, residents are holding their breath to see if this eruption is really and truly over.