June 18: Harry Kim Needs to Rest

Today’s Eruption Summary
USGS gif of F8 lava flow  Jun 17.

Fissure 8’s still doing its thing, fountaining 150-180 feet overnight with 164 foot spatter cone. The usual minor spillovers on the channel to the ocean. Today the lava’s entering the ocean mostly on the south side of the lava delta in the vicinity of Vacationland. Fissure 16/18 are still oozing, and fissure 6 (the bright spot to the left of Fissure 8 on the LERZ webcam at night) is intermittently incandescent or spattering. Both are “forming small lava flows on top of the existing flows.

USGS on Facebook: “About midday, minor amounts of lava spilled over the channel levees but did not advance very far. USGS image taken June 18, 2018 of the upper flow field, just downstream from fissure 8. The ocean entry is marked by a visible plume in the upper left.”

The summit’s daily explosion occurred at 6:12 am, moment magnitude 5.3. It produced a “very small, minor plume that went no more than 500 meters above the ground.” (Brian Shiro in 11AM conference call):

I rewound the Kilauea livestream to watch. The crater was steaming with small white puffy clouds of morning condensation. I saw the window frame vibrate, but the short-lived plume of ash/steam obscured the crater rim, so I didn’t spot any downdrops or rockfalls like we’ve seen for the past few days.

Below: Lots of great photos of summit and LERZ lava field today, and excellent Q&As from USGS on social media.

USGS 1-minute Daily Briefing

Liz Westby, USGS Geologist (transcript)

“The interesting thing about this lava channel is that it is incandescent or glowing orange for nearly its entire length indicating that the lava channel is becoming very efficient about transporting hot lava over that distance.”

USGS: “Fissure 8 lava flows in an open channel all the way to the ocean. Kapoho Crater is the vegetated hill on the right side of the photograph. Ocean entry plume seen in the distance.” (Full-sized)

I’ve put the half-hour 11AM Media Conference Call in a separate post (recording + notes/paraphrase), or you can listen to the 5-minute abridged version from BigIslandVideoNews.

USGS Photos and Images

I hope they’ll post the results of the helicopter survey carried out this morning. USGS posted two snapshots from that flight on the HVO photo chronology page:

USGS: “An overflight of Kīlauea’s summit on June 18 showed the continued dramatic slumping and collapse of the Halema‘uma‘u crater area. This photo shows the area north-northwest of Halema‘uma‘u near a GPS station, North Pit. This station has subsided about 60 m (197 ft) in the past week.” (Full-sized)

I think the steaming ledge that’s down below the rim at top left is the ledge that dropped on the right side of the livestream on Saturday.

USGS: “North side of the growing Halema‘uma‘u crater, marked by large cracks and large blocks that have slumped into the crater.” (Full-sized)

Oh wow. That dropped ledge is in the middle of this photo, and it looks like it’s part of a huge sector of the crater wall that’s dropped as a unit. I think the rockfall towards the middle of the livestream view was coming off the front face of the same block.

Posted on USGS Facebook:

USGS: Lava travels through a well-established channel that leads to the ocean entry. The white plume visible in the upper left is the current ocean entry in the vicinity of Vacationland. USGS image taken June 18, 2018. (Full-sized)

Here’s Fissure 8. I’m afraid that rock that looked like Pele has lost her nose. Also, because scale’s not always obvious, note the dead tree lying at the foot of the cone. Those are what, 100 feet tall?

Fissure 8 cone and channelized lava flow from afternoon USGS overflight. (Full-sized)

Slightly different image posted on USGS Facebook:

USGS: “Fissure 8 fountains, encircled by a spatter cone, continue to feed lava into the well-established channel that flows to the ocean at Kapoho. USGS image taken during the afternoon helicopter overflight on June 18, 2018.” Full-sized)

Is the lava surface reflective enough that reflected sunlight hides the red glow at certain angles? Probably so; there’s an 2015 lava lake photo with the same effect.

And here’s what Fissure 6 looks like when it’s not just an incandescent speck on the nighttime LERZ webcam:

USGS: “Fissure 6 (photo center) showed signs of activity overnight, producing small amounts of spatter and feeding short lava flows. Fissure 6 is located about 2.2 km (1.4 mi) downrift from Fissure 8.” Full-sized

Here’s a screengrab of the Lower East Rift Zone right now.

Screengrab from LERZ Webcam about 9pm HST.

I think Fissure 6’s spatter cone is blocking our view of the lava oozing from it, so we’re seeing the lava as two points of incandescence on either side.

Last but by no means least, USGS posted a rare photo of one of their field geologists who have been working in shifts 24/7 since this eruption started. They don’t give her name; she stands for all of them, I suppose.

USGS: “An HVO geologist uses a thermal camera to measure the temperature (about 93 degrees C or 200 degrees F) of a ground crack near fissure 9. In the lower East Rift Zone, a field geologist’s daily duties can include monitoring ground cracks for temperature and gas changes, measuring heights of lava fountains and cinder cones, and tracking lava’s speed at various locations. Geologists also monitor for channel overflows and collect tephra samples for geochemical analysis. The information is used to understand more about how the fissure complex behaves and informs the USGS’ assessment of hazards.” (Full-sized)
LERZ Lava Field Map for Jun 18

Lava flow coverage: 9.4 square miles
Lava delta: ~360 acres

USGS Lava field map, 9am this morning. (Full-sized)
USGS on Social Media

Here’s Pu’u O’o as I remember it, in all its adolescent pointy glory before many lava flows turned it into a pancake shield shape like a mini Kilauea:

Good question about ocean entry: “Does the lava go all the way down to the ocean floor as the delta expands or does it form a shelf that goes more out than down?”

Followup USGS tweet: “While the waves that result from a delta collapse can be dangerous locally, they aren’t big enough to travel far (or really even be considered tsunamis). They are dangerous to anyone nearby, but like laze, don’t have far-reaching effects.”

USGS seismologist Brian Shiro said today that the lava entry at Kapoho is in a shallow area, unlike where Pu’u O’o was sending its lava, so there’s a higher chance the new Kapoho Point (my name for it) will be stable.

Answering another ocean-entry question: “The lava flows on Hawai’i are affecting a very small area of its coastline. While the loss of the Kapoho tide pools is a big blow to the island, it’s not having widespread effects. can probably comment more on the impacts.”

Additionally: “Even when it becomes safe to enter the ocean in that area (which it won’t be until the lava stops flowing there), @USGS_Volcanoes isn’t the group that will survey the damage. We’re more comfortable with fissures than fish.”

Moving up to the summit and down into Halema’uma’u’s depths…

In answer to the usual “OMG is this going to do a catastrophically larger thing than it’s doing?” question: “The slumping is completely within . The associated earthquakes are affecting Volcano and the Golf Course homes, and there are some earthquake-related cracks on Hwy 11.”

It may be time to sound the bugle for North Pit GPS station on the former north rim of Halema’uma’u:

This week’s vertical movement data from HVO’s North Pit GPS station.

And here’s an explanation for something that was puzzling me, a GPS station that keeps going WHEEEE south and then WHEEE north, which, coupled with the tilt data of its neighbor, made me think a block kept leaning forward, then straightening out again when it dropped:

GPS and tilt data from HVO Deformation Monitoring page.

I’m not sure if my idea about leaning/tipping is correct, but apparently it’s somewhat like that:

“If talking about the signal at UWEV GPS, it’s because the station is slowly moving toward (not actually down, but south). Explosion “rights” the station & forces it back north. Today’s Type A didn’t produce much ash, but still strong explosion.”

Day by day, the summit of Kīlauea volcano subsides around Halema‘uma‘u Crater. This series of images spans June 1 to 10 from our summit wide-angle webcam mounted on the tower of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Further slumping occurs during every explosive event. Right now, we're calling the larger explosions "Type A". To be classified as such, our scientists see four distinct geophysical signals: seismic, infrasound, = tilt, and GPS. Recently, the explosions have been occurring once per day and have been registering as a magnitude 5+ earthquake. However, they're not typical earthquakes at all – there is no major fault-rupturing event. Instead, pressure builds up beneath the rubble pile that is choking the conduit and is released as the explosion.For additional photos and videos visit: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_chronology.html#volcanoes #usgs #Kilauea #KilaueaErupts #Halemaumau #volcano #KilaueaEruption #SummitEruption

Posted by USGS Volcanoes on Monday, June 11, 2018

From Civil Defense / State Agencies

Civil Defense alerts same as usual.

The mayor’s office issued a worrisome bulletin. Harry Kim was hospitalized this morning with a “Mild Heart Attack.” He’s had three since April, plus walking pneumonia. I wouldn’t normally advocate bed restraints, but that man NEEDS TO REST. (The trouble is, he’s one of those energizer bunny people anyway, and then on top of tha he’s the most experienced person in the emergency operations center, since he was head of Civil Defense when Pu’u O’o lava flows covered Kalapana.)

From Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

In their article/FAQ, they include a map showing the expected maximum range of “large boulder rockfall” and “marble- to pea-size rockfall.” This was probably drawn up in the first weeks of the eruption, when steam explosions were a concern but hadn’t yet started. I was assuming ballistics were no longer an issue since we’re well past steam explosions in an exposed lava lake, and what’s coming up now looks like gases and modest amounts of ash. But I suppose that doesn’t rule out rocky projectiles or the chance of more vigorous explosions.

I didn’t realize one could still drive through the park (but not stop) on Highway 11.

From Hawaii National Guard

Good overflight footage — I think morning of June 16.

From Local News Outlets

Moment of Aloha

Dispatches From Volcano today reflects on the changing vistas of the new crater with excellent screencaps— one very clear view— plus a good photo of Halema’uma’u Crater from 2005, pre-lava-lake.

Mick Kalber LERZ Overflight

Clear skies and gorgeous views of the lava channels again today.

Photography/social media Roundup

I’ve posted so many photos today we’re kind of maxed out, nevertheless…

Glowing river. #lavaflow #lavaglow #kilauea #volcano #hawaii #bigisland

A post shared by Janice W. (@janice_weicool) on

20180617 Sanford Quarry – Hawaii Army National Guard . Expansive views of lava channels were observed tonight thanks to Major Hickman convoying us up to a precipice on the southern side of Sanford Quarry. Fissure 8 continued to produce an incredible volume of lava fountaining upwards of 165ft, vigorously traveling through wide, curved, and raised channels from Leilani Estates. Intertwining lava rivers from Fissure 8 streamed east around the north flank of Kapoho Cone with large, active pahoehoe lobes of spillover strewn throughout the channel’s edges. . Mahalo to Major Hickman and his @hawaii_armynationalguard team for making it possible for us for us to safely document this eruption. . All areas that I have documented throughout this eruptive series have been through approved with legal access. Please kokua and do not attempt to trespass in areas unless official approval has been granted. The majority of my efforts are without pay and all expenses are out of pocket. The content shared is being shared without cost to our local news networks for community awareness and support. Some footage does help to pay a very small portion of my expenses. . My respect and best wishes go out to the neighborhood of Leilani Estates, Lanipuna Gardens, and the areas within and between Kapoho. My heart especially goes out to all of my friends who have lost their homes in this fissure eruption. I am at a loss for words. ______ #eruption #bigisland #kapoho #lavaoceanentry #kilauea #eruption #leilani #puuhonuaopuna #nationalguard @hawaiinewsnow

A post shared by Andrew Richard Hara (@andrewrichardhara) on