July 7: Slow News Day Is Good News, Right?

July 7, 2018. A brooding Mordor-scape around Fissure 8 during the USGS morning overflight. (Full-sized)
Today’s Eruption Summary

The Lower East Rift Zone continues as usual, more or less. Fissure 8’s fountains remain tucked down in their 180′ cone, sending a river towards Kapoho. However, yesterday’s thermal map shows “the channel flow seems to stall about 2km (1.2 mi) inland of the coast.” Instead of entering the ocean from the channel, it’s oozing out here and there along a wide span of the delta, mostly on the north side. Also, lava is oozing out on both sides of the main a’a field, to the north (still menacing the narrow remnants of Kapoho Beach Lots, and it looks like it’s made a bit of a surface flow there) and southwest.


Fissure 22 is weakly spattering. And as of 9pm HST, we’re still waiting for today’s collapse event at the summit.

Apart from the weather, today was a slow news day for Kilauea watchers. So it’s a good time to catch up on this week’s Volcano Watch, HVO’s weekly column:

From Other Agencies

Civil Defense has a few interesting extras in its daily alert (they’re down to one), including warnings about lava channel spillovers and high surf/thunderstorms/flood warnings for morning/early afternoon July 7.

The flood advisory issued by the National Weather Service included both Puna and K’au, and expired at 3:15 in the afternoon. I haven’t seen any news of thunderstorms quite like those freak thunderstorms that piled up July 2 when the tradewinds were stalled. They were blowing today.

And that lava tube pothole under Highway 11 has been repaired.

From Local News Outlets

Almost nonexistent news day. While warnings/advisories were issued, I haven’t seen any reports of problems from today’s weather.

USGS Q&A on Social Media

USGS: For those of you asking about the #HVO #Kilauea summit livestream, we’re aware that it’s been glitchy for the past few days. Someone is looking into the problem, but it may take a little while to correct. We know it’s popular and we’d like to have it running smoothly too! [Gee, I can’t imagine why gadgets left at HVO would be having a few issues right now.]

Q: Livestream’s having problems; have earthquakes or ash caused loose connections?
USGS: Unfortunately, it’s nothing so elaborate. Seems to be some sort of issue with the routing of our signal, and the problem might not even be at HVO, but rather with connections outside HVO that we don’t control. We’re working on it…

Q: If lava channel is not reaching coastline, where is all that lava going?
USGS: The lava is still reaching the ocean. The channel crusts over before getting to the coast, but lava is flowing beneath that crust.

Q: There have been reports of lava flows around Four Corners but no trace on the [July 6 lava flow] map…have they only been on top of other current lava?
USGS: Yes, they have been overflows and a channel rerouting on top of existing lava flows.

(This was visible on yesterday’s thermal map and yesterday’s Fire Dept overflight:)

Lava channel petering out after making it around the bend at Kapoho Crater:

07/06/2018: Kilauea, HI - East Rift Zone Eruption

Ooze-outs on earlier a’a flows of delta:

07/06/2018: Kilauea, HI - East Rift Zone Eruption

07/06/2018: Kilauea, HI - East Rift Zone Eruption

Kapoho Crater, original lava channel at left, new flow rising out of the a’a field after traveling under the crust:

07/06/2018: Kilauea, HI - East Rift Zone Eruption

Q: Cold pyroclastic flows?
USGSWhen cold plumes of ash collapse, they can rush along the ground. They don’t go near as far as hot surges, and they aren’t near as deadly. They’re sort of like the plumes you see in footage of a building collapse.

Q: Why are there no M4 earthquakes at the summit? Seems to jump from 3s to 5s. Is this a real phenomenon or somehow due to how they’re measured?
USGS: It’s a real phenomenon. M3 events are common at volcanoes generally. The M5 events are weird ones and associated with collapse. So the lack of M4 events probably reflects the large size of the collapses and the relatively small size of the patches of breaking rock between collapses.

July 7, 2018. USGS: “For several years, a special ultraviolet camera has been located near Keanakākoʻi Crater at Kīlauea’s summit. The camera was capable of detecting SO2 gas coming from Halema‘uma‘u crater. This morning, the camera was removed because there is very little SO2 to measure these days at the summit. In addition, cracking near Keanakākoʻi Crater was making access difficult.” (Full-sized)

Q: What would the magnitude be if the whole caldera and escarpment collapses at once?
USGS: Hard to say — it depends on the amount of motion and the size of the faults (since the size of the earthquake scales with the size of the fault that is moving). Probably it would not be much more than something in the low M6 range.

Q: Is this what hope looks like?

USGS: It seems that the broader deformation of the caldera might be slowing. But despite this, the collapse of the inner part of the caldera floor continues unabated.
Q: (same person): Is this a hint the draining of the magma chamber is slowing, terminating this eruption? Would the caldera floor continue to subside/settle for a long time after the eruption ends?  Do you have any graphs that would show deflation of the magma conduit through Puna?
USGS: We sort of wonder the same thing — whether or not the volume loss is decreasing, but the collapse needs to “catch up.” There is still some subsidence outside the collapse area (it’s not well displayed by the plot you shared), but it is decreasing in rate. As for the East Rift Zone, attached is a plot of the distance between two sites near Makaopuhi Crater. That area continues to contract slowly.

USGS: plot of the distance between two sites near Makaopuhi Crater, Lower East Rift Zone.

Q: Looks like something’s happening around Pu’u O’o; tiltmeter’s gone up and there’s steam on its flank.
USGSActually, this is all something of an illusion. Pu`u `O`o is like a sponge, and when it rains really heavily, it indices tilt (and you get steaming as well). Attached is a plot of tilt and rainfall on the same scale and that shows the direct correlation. We see this whenever there is heavy rain out at Pu`u `O`o.

July 7, 2018. USGS graph of rainfall compared with tilt readings at Pu’u O’o.

Q: Volume of steam at caldera seems higher for past day. Also some intermittent steam pockets at Mauna Loa. Do most active volcanoes steam periodically?
USGS: This is really common at Kilauea and Mauna Loa, especially in the afternoons. It depends on a variety of factors, from weather conditions to rainfall to ground heat. Weather is actually the most common factor — changes in humidity, etc.

Q: I understand that Kīlauea and Mauna Loa are sharing the Hawaiian hot spot yet Haleakalā, Hualālai and Mauna Kea are dormant and not extinct what would they actually erupt? Left over lava that’s just hanging around in their plumbing or do they also have access to the hot spot as well? And is kohala mountain actually older than Haleakalā? Is that why it is extinct and Haleakalā is not?
USGS: You ask a complex question. Hawaiian volcanoes go through life stages — pre shield, shield, post-shield, and rejuvenated. Right now, Haleakala, Kohala, Mauna Kea, and Hualalai are in the post-shield stage. They erupt very infrequently. We haven’t detected any magma chambers beneath them (unlike Kilauea and Mauna Loa, which are in the shield stage), which suggests that magma rises from great depth before erupting, probably from some relict magma left behind as they moved away from the hotspot. The composition of the lava that is erupted is a little different than what we see from Kilauea and Mauna Loa, which supports this idea. So Kohala is not actually extinct. It may have some postshield volcanism yet, or perhaps we won’t see any more eruptions there except some rejuvenated volcanism (a good example of this is Diamond Head on Oahu). As for why Haleakala might be more active recently than Kohala, no one can say. It might just reflect the random variations in the hotspot You can get more information about the life stages of Hawaiian volcanoes at https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/…/hvo/hawaiian_volcanoes.html.


Locals are crowdsourcing this pair of unofficial LERZ eruption maps, one tagged with notes on locations impacted by the ongoing eruption, one with links to photos of those locations:

From Photographers

There’s a whole lot of shaking going on. Halemaumau crater is collapsing into the emptying magma chamber below it, producing hundreds of earthquakes a day, including the daily M5.3 that is like clockwork. Here’s my hit on it all. I welcome the shaking. Every time I feel the big one of the day, I feel relief. The pressure is being mitigated regularly and gently. I mean, if we are going to have a summit collapse anyway, isn't this the best case scenario? The vibrations look like an EKG of a healthy heart. I would be worried if I didn't feel the constant earthquakes. Kilauea Volcano is just doing its thing, like it has done for the last 3-600,000 years. Frankly, I’d rather be shaken than stirred. Top photo taken 2008. Bottom photo taken July, 2018. #halemaumau #kilauea #caldera #volcano #hawaiivolcanoesnationalpark #hawaii #gbradlewis

A post shared by G. Brad Lewis (@gbradlewis) on

Have you picked up your copy of July Ke Ola Magazine Hawaii Island ? Check out my photo the back cover, and in the lava…

Posted by Db Photo at Primary Focus on Friday, July 6, 2018

This is old, from a previous eruption, but since it was a slow news day:

What does the future hold? The crystal ball says more lava….A just for fun moment aboard @lavaocean at the kamokuna…

Posted by Db Photo at Primary Focus on Friday, August 4, 2017