Today’s Eruption Summary
Fissure 8 is status quo. Today’s HVO Kiluaea status report says its cone is now 180feet tall. Its flow front has broadened southwards, widening to two miles, moving south on shore as well as continuing to expand offshore (lava delta acreage: ~405). The main channel/ocean entry remains on the southern side of the front, with minor entries in a 1-kilometer zone.
The lava Fissure 22 is weakly active; no activity observed at 16/18.
According to Mike Zoeller (UHI) at today’s 11AM conference call, the lava delta is advancing at less than 50m/day; it was 200/day a week ago. The southern edge of the flow is a kilometer from Ahalanui Beach Park. Over the weekend, he observed top lava speeds of 25kph (15.5mph); Leslie Gordon (USGS) saw it max out at 35kph (21.75mph) last Friday night.
After yesterday’s collapse explosion at 4:12, seismicity dropped from a high of 25-35 quakes an hour down to less than 10, but had started to creep up again and was averaging 30 by dawn. On the livestream, I observed clouds of ash/dust in the crater’s interior at various times during the day. Today’s collapse explosion occurred at 5:03pm, equivalent of a 5.3, ash-poor plume rising less than 2000 feet.
Jun 24: chasing rainbows and lava with Mick Kalber. He was checking on a lava spillover uncomfortably near his house! (Helicopter noise)
Reminder: HVO downgraded Kilauea’s aviation alert to ORANGE last night, because ash explosions have rarely risen above 10,000 feet since May.
11AM USGS Conference Call
Actually, Mike Zoellner of UHI is spelling USGS crew this week.
BigIslandVideoNews has edited down the 20 minute conference call (here’s my transcript) to 3 minutes:
June 25 Lava Flow Map
6,164 acres covered by lava (according to Civil Defense this afternoon).
USGS on Social Media
NPIT #GPS station at #Kilauea is no longer able to transmit data after subsiding 310 feet (95 meters), but two new stations have been installed on the #caldera floor — CALS and VO46. Check out the real-time data plots for these stations at https://t.co/4lgmc7uVX3. pic.twitter.com/VO2EnvKvSu
— USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) June 26, 2018
Additional info from FB:
“On June 18, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory staff said a sad goodbye to a GPS instrument that had faithfully recorded over 310 feet (95 meters) of downward motion of the floor of Kilauea caldera before losing radio contact. The GPS instrument, called NPIT, first started moving downward in early May at the onset of subsidence at Kilauea’s summit. However on June 8, NPIT’s motion picked up dramatically. This was when a portion of the caldera floor north of Halema’uma’u, where NPIT was located, began to slump into the crater. Over the next ten days NPIT GPS recorded down-dropping of 20-25 feet (6-8 meters) with each summit explosion event, which have been occurring almost every day. This, together with earlier displacements, added up to a position change of 310 feet down, 180 feet south, and 16 feet east (95 m, 55 m, and 5 m respectively).
These data provide unique insight into the crater collapse process, showing us that it is occurring as a series of steps instead of as continuous motion. Drone and helicopter views confirm that NPIT is still intact and likely still recording data. Unfortunately, the large motions have now resulted in a misalignment of the radio shot between the instrument and the observatory, cutting off communication and therefore data flow from the GPS station.
At about the same time that we lost the ability to contact NPIT, HVO staff completed work to add telemetry to two temporary GPS stations on the caldera floor. These two stations, called CALS and VO46, are not located on actively slumping portions of the caldera floor and therefore do not show the dramatic downward motion that NPIT did. However, they reveal that even portions of the caldera floor away from active slumping are moving downward very quickly; by as much as 3.3 feet/day (1.0 meters/day) at station CALS. Recent data from these new stations can now be viewed on the HVO website at https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/monitoring_deformation.html ”
Episodic collapse of Kīlauea's caldera floor continues with small burst of ash beneath the clouds (6/24 event at 4:12 pm). HVO reduces aviation color code from RED to ORANGE, as activity poses limited hazard to aviation. https://t.co/8GmMI9DldJ pic.twitter.com/MWQ11HfeI0
— USGS Volcanoes🌋 (@USGSVolcanoes) June 25, 2018
Q: Caldera subsided about 60m since May? 1 m/day? Proportional to erupted lava?
USGSVolcanoes: The subsidence varies hugely over the caldera floor. The bottom of Halema`uma`u has subsided by over 300 meters, while other parts of the caldera floor (at the base of the caldera wall near Volcano House) the subsidence has been much less (a meter or less). The volume of the subsidence so far resembles that of the erupted volume, although we’re still working on calculating both quantities.
Q: Has this changed your mind about possibility of caldera collapse?
USGSVolcanoes: Not really. The primary action is close in to Halema`uma`u, where the walls and rim are slumping inward as the crater deepens. That isn’t to say that major subsidence of the caldera is not occurring — obviously it is (the data show that very clearly). But we do not see evidence suggesting a potential caldera-wide collapse at this point, where the entire caldera would downdrop in a massive event. But part of the reason we installed these new stations was to continue tracking the activity, to look for changes that might indicate some new process occurring.
Q: Is collapse moving towards Volcano House or miltary camp?
USGSVolcanoes: The crater is growing, and the motion is increasing in the direction towards Volcano House, but satellite radar data suggest that the significant motion stops well short of the caldera floor beneath Volcano House.
[capture of today’s collapse on HVO Livestream]
Q: How much has caldera rim moved where Jaggar Museum is?
USGSVolcanoes: So far, the caldera rim hasn’t moved that much, despite the large subsidence and crater enlargement occurring on the caldera floor right beneath the museum. We have a GPS station located nearby (UWEV, also on the HVO Kilauea deformation website) which helps us to monitor the stability of the rim.
Q: Could some of the earthquakes be from blocks falling into the magma chamber?
USGSVolcanoes: We don’t believe that blocks are actually falling into the magma chamber (that type of void space probably doesn’t exist in large amounts, although we can’t be certain), but rather the downward slumping of the caldera floor near Halema`uma`u as a single unit. This is why the associated seismic events (the near-daily M5 earthquakes) are so strange in terms of the energy they radiate. The earthquakes appear to have a lot in common with other collapse-style seismicity in areas where there is no magma present.
Q: Are the explosions causing those 20-25 foot drops, or part of them? What’s the mechanism for the timing?
USGSVolcanoes: The M5+ events that occur nearly each day are associated with the 20-25-foot drops. The small explosions aren’t really “causing” those, but rather it’s one system that has many manifestations. The largest earthquakes are collapse-style events as the caldera settles, and that’s when a lot of the blocks around Halema`uma`u move. As for the timing, we don’t have a great handle on why they are so repeatable. We suspect that it reflects the relatively constant deflation rate due to magma withdrawal from the summit, which means the settling of the caldera floor occurs at a constant rate, and stress builds up at a steady rate. But this will need to be tested and refined with models that incorporate a variety of data.
Q: How much southward has south of island moved since May?
USGSVolcanoes: Typically, the south flank moves towards the ocean at a rate of a few millimeters per month. Since the M6.9 earthquake, there was a little bit of seaward motion (about 2 cm over a few weeks) as the flank adjusted due to the earthquake (we call this “postseismic deformation,” and it is a common process after all strong earthquakes), but for the last month there has been very little motion of the station towards the sea. In other words, the flank is behaving normally now that the postseismic motion has ceased. We’ve attached the plot from one of the GPS sites near Kaena Point as an example of what is occurring — the plot shows north-south deformation since May 5 (a downward trends mean that the station is moving south, towards the sea).
Q: Fissure 8’s cone is 154ft?
USGSVolcanoes: Yes, that’s current. The cone may be closer to 200 feet above the original ground surface, but it is built on some meters of lava that hardened prior to the cone’s formation.
[I asked for clarification, since today’s and yesterday’s HVO Kilauea Status Report say 180′, up from 170′ and 164′ in USGS posts a week or two ago.]
Q: Can we have new data for Kilauea Floor GPS now that NPIT is gone?
USGSVolcanoes: We have two temporary GPS stations on the caldera floor, but scientists have to visit them in order to download data. We will be updating our deformation monitoring webpage later today!
Q: Any news on the new cracks between fissure 9 and 10 a week ago, uprift of Fissure 8? Property owner says they’re getting bigger.
USGS: We’ve had ground crews monitoring those cracks closely by taking repeat measurements of width, testing for SO2 and other gases, and checking temperature with a thermal camera. We will continue to do so and alert Civil Defense and the homeowner if there are any concerning changes.
Q: What started this chain of events?
USGS: It all began with the breakage of some sort of valve near Pu`u `O`o — the site of the eruption for the prior 35 years. That barrier was preventing magma from traveling form the summit all the way down the rift zone. We tried to summarize this information in a news post on the HVO website — check outhttps://volcanoes.usgs.gov/obse…/hvo/hvo_news_archive.html and go to the second article in the list, posted on May 24.
USGS [correcting someone]: Actually, current eruption started on May 3, the day before the May 4 M6.9 earthquake! The magma feeding the eruption started it’s motion downrift on April 30. The quake actually was caused by the magma intrusion into the East Rift Zone — it pushed on the south flank and added stress to the south flank fault, which then ruptured. Kilauea’s magmatic and tectonic systems have a very complex interrelationship. As for what broke the Pu`u `O`o valve, we’re not really sure (that will be the focus of much research once this event is over). It appears to have been the weak link in the system this time.
[Cont’d] The chemistry was evolving by May 18, but the article was specifically referring to the fact that the rift zone stopped widening at that time. This implies that the magma conduit from the summit stabilized, and magma was no longer forcing open the lower East Rift Zone. The conduit had become established.
Q: Just how big is this eruption? Was that 6.9 earthquake like a release valve; will the summit totally depressurize? Could the caldera drop?
USGS: This is a very large eruption. It’s bigger than 1955 and 1960, and might be approaching the size of the 1840 eruption. It’s basically erupted in less than 2 months what would have taken Pu`u `O`o about 2 years to put out. The M6.9 event might have opened some space within the volcano and allowed for easier flow of magma from the summit to the eruption site (we’re still examining that possibility). As for the summit, we don’t believe it will completely depressurize, because magma has a pretty high viscosity, and so has some strength to it — it doesn’t behave like water, even though it looks like it might given the river of molten material flowing out of fissure 8. At some point, the pressure will be low enough that the flow to the eruptive vent can no longer be sustained. And we don’t see a reason that the caldera would founder in a single event. In fact, what we are seeing now argues for just the opposite — that the caldera floor around Halema`uma`u is dropping as a series of discrete events that are likely to continue as long as the depressurization persists.
Q: Haleakala is dormant not dead?
USGS: Exactly. Haleakala last erupted several hundred years ago. More information is at https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/haleakala/
[Discussion about various cones collapsing, Pu’u O’o floor collapse] was that before or after the 6.9 earthquake?
USGS: This was before the M6.9. The floor collapse was almost instantaneous with the onset of the dike intrusion on April 30. And this sort of thing has happened before (although not to this degree)… Check it out:
Q: Could new fissures open?
USGS: We don’t see a reason that new fissures would form, although that can’t be ruled out. The formation of new fissures should be preceded by some other changes — more seismicity and deformation in the lower East Rift Zone, for example. But as long as Fissure 8 continues to pump out lava, it seems to be able to handle the bulk of the flow from the summit region.
Q: I imagine lava is heavy— can you feel the ground vibrating or shaking near the lava flow?
USGS: We don’t really feel anything particularly anomalous close to the vent, aside from the heat. The sound is more noticeable — the “whooshing” from the spattering events can be quite loud.
HNN’s Mileka Lincoln reposted it, but as usual I prefer to post the original.
From other official channels
Eruption Update for June 25 at 4PM. To report your home or property damaged or destroyed, call Real Property Tax Office at 961-8201. If home or property inaccessible due to lava isolation or mandatory evacuation, please call Civil Defense at 935-0031. https://t.co/sMzQYvFJz4
— Mayor Harry Kim (@MayorHarryKim) June 26, 2018
June 21 overflight from DLNR:
This is a few days old, but it gets up close and personal with Fissure 8 at 16:00, circling around it looking into it, and at the end they take a spin around Pu’u O’o.
From Other SCIENTISTS
- Dana Hunter, “Rosetta Stones” blog, Scientific American: “I Regret to Inform You: Kilauea Rumors Aren’t At All True”
- SubSea World News: “Wave Gliders Collect Lava Flow Data From Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano”
From Local News Outlets
- HTH: “Will lava take Ahulanui?”
- KITV: “Help From Above: NASA helps map Kilauea Volcano”
- BIN: “Lava Viewing Site Being Considered”
- HPR: “Helicopter Tours of Kilauea Volcano are Booked Solid”
- HTH: “State park chief: ‘Pele is in control now'”
- HNN: “No end in sight: Vigorous eruptions, quakes just keep coming on Big Island”
- HSA: “At least 657 homes destroyed by lava as flow approaches Ahalanui ponds”
- HNN: “Eruptions decimate Big Island flower farms — and push up prices“
- HSA: “Kilauea emissions affect Malama Ki Forest reserve”
- HNN: “Renters displaced by the Kilauea eruption may be eligible for federal aid”
- HNN: “Office of Elections begins mailing absentee ballots to evacuated Puna residents”
- “World Central Kitchen helps to ensure quality meals are made available for evacuees” Incidentally, stories like this keep confirming my belief that donating to local, proven groups like Pu’uhonua o Puna is better than the Red Cross.)
- HTH: “Agencies help with mental health care”
- HNN: “After they lost everything to lava, they learned what aloha means. And then they paid it forward”
Moment of ALOHA
- Dispatches From the Volcano manages to make caldera bounding faults into a story.
From Social Media
One of the many small rockfall plumes. From a few minutes ago. #usgs #halemaumau #earthquakes #Hawaii #hvnp #hppa #volcano #Kilauea #lava #KilaueaVolcano #LeilaniEstates #BigIsland #eruption #Kapoho #火山 #噴火 #ハワイ pic.twitter.com/jdxNXO4KaA
— lavapix.com (@lavapixcom) June 26, 2018
Interesting to see that new temporary GPS station CLAS on the caldera floor has only in the last few events started to show downward drops. Let's see if that trend continues for the next collapse/explosion event (any minute now).https://t.co/C5PrMHBNwc pic.twitter.com/Ki7WPIv9O9
— Jascha Polet (@CPPGeophysics) June 26, 2018
Yep, it’s a 5.3. 5.5 is when the cat gets up and stalks off in a huff. (Or at least that was true for my previous cat; the current one has not yet been calibrated):
This was Yesterdays 5.4 earthquake at Jeff Judd’s house in the Volcano golf course…Check out the trees outside shaking around in the background as well as action in the house…Mahalo Judd Ohana and the chillest cat on the planet Kazu!!
Posted by EpicLava on Monday, June 25, 2018
Posted by EpicLava on Monday, June 25, 2018
When I’m not photographing the volcano, from ground, sea, and sky, I surround myself with this. Price of admission? Constant earthquakes. There have been so many earthquakes on the summit of Kilauea Volcano, that the other night, when there were none, it felt so odd that the house was not shaking that I woke up and exclaimed, “what was that!” #rainforest #Volcano #hawaii #gbradlewis
Destruction. Creation. How we define the forces of nature is a personal choice. I see Earth Birth in Kīlauea Volcano. I have sympathy and compassion for those who have lost material possessions that are important to them. The fact that we may all live another day matters most. Be grateful for each breath and look forward to tomorrow. #lavariver #puna #hawaii #kilauea #volcano #gbradlewis