July 17: New and Old Views of Halema’uma’u

July 17, 2018. USGS: “During this morning’s overflight, USGS scientists captured this image of sunrise above Kīlauea’s lower East Rift Zone. Fissure 8 continues to feed a channelized lava flow that reaches the ocean, forming a large plume at the coast (upper right).” (Full-sized)
Today’s Eruption Summary

And we’re back to routine, except that Fissure 8’s providing a minor puzzle to keep HVO busy. Yesterday it didn’t exhibit the surge behavior that’s been typical after summit collapses for the week or so. Today, nowhere near the time of a collapse event, “surging was noted at the Fissure 8 cone during the [morning] overflight but had stopped by the time ground crews arrived to verify it.” Otherwise, the channel’s lava level was low this morning. No other were fissures active.

July 17, 2018. USGS: ” During their overflight, scientists used a telephoto lens to photograph the surface of the fissure 8 lava channel. Incandescent lava is visible through pieces of darker crust that forms as the flow surface cools. Note the apparent symmetry on either side of the channel center, where lava flows more quickly than it does along the channel margins—a visual representation of flow velocity across the channel width.” (Full-sized)

Both the strong southern ocean entry and weak “ooze-outs” north along the edge of the lava delta continue. Onshore, the southern margin of the flow front was reported to be half a mile from the Pohoiki boat ramp this morning. Unfortunately, that flow edge has stalled but not stopped, and a DLNR official warned Isaac Hale Park is still within its sights.

July 17, 2018. USGS: “South margin of the fissure 8 lava flow ocean entry. As of this morning, the flow was about 750 m (just under 0.5 mi) from the Pohoiki boat ramp.” (Full-sized)

We’re still awaiting the next summit collapse, which looks like it’s going to thwart HVO’s new “Northeast Caldera Rim” livestream by happening at night.

Speaking of the northeast rim, here’s the July 12 collapse event with sound from that vantage point:

Also out today is this impressive new Kīlauea Digital Elevation Model.

The split-second info card at the end says the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater has dropped 450 m (1480 ft). Prior to the current eruption, it was 85 m (~280 feet) deep. So it’s about 1760 feet deep now. (World Trade Center One is 1776.)

Compare with satellite photo pre-eruption:

Earth Observatory satellite photo of Kilauea, from “100 Years at Kilauea” page honoring Hawai’i Volcano Observatory’s 100th anniversary.

2009 digital elevation model via LIDAR:

Last but not least an April 13, 2018 aerial photo:BEFORE the big event: Kilauea caldera, April 13, 2018. USGS (Full-sized)

July 17 Thermal Map

Fresh off the press, new thermal map of Lower East Rift Zone as of 7 am July 17.

USGS: “This thermal map shows the fissure system and lava flows as of 6 am on Tuesday, July 17. The fountain at Fissure 8 remains active, with the lava flow entering the ocean. The dominant ocean entry was on the new lobe that reached the sea near Ahalanui last week.” (Full-sized)

Looks like that braided channel that got clogged yesterday is still clogged.

From other Agencies
July 17 STeve Brantley (USGS/HVO) Talk

This went up just as I was about to post. I don’t have time to listen now, but Steve Brantley’s slideshows at the Tuesday evening Pahoa Community meetings are always fantastic:

From Other Scientists

From Local News oUtlets

Note that most news sites are carrying a disturbing video from the lava tour boat with a lot of screaming, which doesn’t really provide much info. Except it shows an indistinct glowing shape that may be the lava bomb on deck.

Mick Kalber July 16 Overflight

Footage from yesterday morning with clear views of formerly-tiny-island peninsula and channel blockages, ocean entry “ooze-outs.”

USGS on Social Media

Right-hand image is similar view to Dispatches from Volcano photo mentioned above.

Regarding the view, @USGSVolcanoes pointed to this July 15 photo:

USGS: “View of Halema‘uma‘u taken today (July 15) from the south side of the caldera near the KEANAKEKOI Overlook.” (Full-sized)

Oh, the HVO website just posted a new Puʻu ʻŌʻō image as well as one that was shared on Twitter a day or two ago:

July 13, 2018. USGS: ” During a helicopter overflight on July 13, 2018, USGS scientists captured this image of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō. On April 30, 2018, the Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater floor collapsed and an intrusion of magma migrated down Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone, advancing below ground toward the lower Puna District, leading to a series of fissure eruptions in the Leilani Estates subdivision. Since then, detected volcanic activity at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō has been minimal.” (Full-sized)
USGS Pu’u O’o overflight, “Clear conditions at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō on July 13, 2018, provided good views into the crater. As the steep crater rim slowly slumps inward and downward, rock rubble fills the base of the vent.” (Full-sized)

Q: [Puʻu ʻŌʻō erupted for 35 years starting 1983, but it wasn’t erupting continuously that whole time. Other eruptions in 1970s are considered separate. What determines a new eruption vs. continuation of old one, if there’s a pause?]

USGS: Good question. It’s largely a case of semantics. We can take Mauna Ulu (1969-1974) as an example. It showed various stages of activity for 1969-1971, paused for a few months during 1971-1972, and then started erupting again. Because it was using the same plumbing system, we called it the same eruption (with many episodes), despite the fact that there were also summit eruptions happening at the same time as Mauna Ulu was active. For Pu`u `O`o, we applied the same logic. The first 3 years saw 47 separate fountaining events from Pu`u `O`o (or nearby vents). Since it was the same plumbing system and same behavior, we called these episodes of the same eruption. There was an offshoot from this plumbing system in 1986 that formed Kupaianaha, which was active until 1992, and then it went back to Pu`u `O`o, etc. etc. (the full history is laid out at https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vol…/kilauea/geo_hist_1983.html). So it was always the same plumbing system, even when there were some pauses, and we therefore called it one eruption with many episodes. With this in mind, you can probably see the challenge in what to do with the current activity. Is it a new eruption? It certainly has traveled into new areas (and therefore involved new parts of the volcano’s plumbing system). But it also is closely related to Pu`u `O`o, in that it started due to a pressure increase there, and the first 12 or so miles of the system are the same as the conduit system used by Pu`u `O`o. So, is this a new eruption, or a new episode of the Pu`u `O`o eruption? We haven’t settled on that yet, and really, it doesn’t matter. But we certainly get that it can be confusing — it confuses us sometimes, too!

Followup: [How do you resolve plumbing? Aren’t Mauna Ulu, Pu’u O’o, Leilani all along same rift zone?/

USGS: They are all along the East Rift Zone, but that’s a pretty wide zone, and magma can crack it’s way along several parallel pathways. As for how we resolve the plumbing, we use a variety of methods in combination — seismic, deformation, geological/structural studies…anything we can get our hands on!

[I just found this photo while rooting around for something else. 1973 Halemaʻumaʻu photo! A little deeper than I remember, I think; there were a few lava flows that reduced its depth between then and 1986.]

1973 photo of Halema’uma’u from a 2004 factsheet: “Explosive Eruptions at Kilauea Volcano.” Back when they still thought the 1924 was steam. (Which is actually very telling of the times. In the 1700s a lot of scientific metaphors related the physical world to clockwork; in the 1800s into the early 1900s steampower explained a great deal; and now we often make comparisons to the internet.)

Q (Mark Tumminello): Are subsequent collapses at the crater based on increased circumference and mass ?  Does collapsed mass it’s weight and associated concussion cause a pressure wave and surge , that can be visually observed at fissure 8 ?   Do surges and surge pressure promote underground erosion making the feed to fissure 8 larger in diameter and increasing lava production ?

USGSSome good questions here, answering in the order they were asked… 1) We are seeing the collapse events expand in scope in terms of the area that is being activated. So the mass that is dropping down does seem to have increased, although the amount of drop of the deepest part might have decreased somewhat while the area expands. It’s hard to tell. 2) If you had asked this last week, we would have said no. but in the last few days we’ve started to see some evidence for surges in lava effusion in the lower East Rift Zone that we think might be related to the collapse events — like a piston pushing down on the top of the magma reservoir. We might not have observed this before because the magma conduit was full, and couldn’t support a surge. That said, a surge-and-lull behavior is becoming common from the vent, so we still have some investigations to do. 3) We don’t think that the conduit is becoming any bigger, and overall, the lava production rate is down somewhat from a couple of weeks ago. It’s hard to know exactly what is happening in the conduit system, since we can’t see it directly, but we think it is most likely that conduits rarely get bigger over time. Instead, they probably evolve from being crack-like to become circular in cross-section (this is the most efficient shape thermally), and then slowly get smaller as magma flow through them wanes.

[Kids ask the darnedest things. Go, kids!]

Q: What’s “Type A” mean? [Some post used that term again]

USGS: These are the collapse events. Internally, we call them “Type A” events — this was language we started using among ourselves back in May, when the collapse events were also accompanied by small explosive bursts. Type B events were increased ash emissions with no pressure pulse, and Type C was the normal, persistent degassing/ash emission. Of course, now there are no more Type B or C periods, and the Type A doesn’t have much of an explosive component anymore… A good example of how volcanic activity is so dynamic and evolves over time!

I don’t know who it is, but I can always tell when this geologist is on duty because of Python/LOTR references: 

USGS: For those of you asking about the VO46 GPS feed on the HVO website, we can confirm that the station has kicked the bucket, shuffled off its mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. VO46 is an ex-GPS. 😢

[Someone asked if it was visible during overflight and facetiously (?) offered an old Garmin as a replacement.]

USGS: Our overflight confirmed that VO46 was buried under rubble. Kinematic GPS units can cost way upwards of $10,000, not including the solar panels to power them. So we appreciate the offer – but we’ve got them covered!

[Another question about “sporadic steam plumes” from past week, asking if it suggests something about summit.]

USGS: Steam & dust plumes rise occasionally from the summit – this has been the case for a couple of months now. There is typically more in the morning due to humidity in the air. Frequent earthquakes cause rockfalls then rock dust to rise also.

Q: [Have you noticed short-term pulsing behavior at F8? Any theories?]

USGS: We have at fissure 8 – a few minutes of high flow, a few minutes of low, separate from the surges following Type A collapse/explosion events at the summit. We’re still thinking about why the shorter pulses might be happening.

[Someone notes it’s hard to do observations of Fissure 8 flow level using PG webcam.] 

USGS: We’ve got field crews out in the Lower East Rift Zone 24/7, including drone crews who can make flights over the channel to track surges. They’re on it!

Q: Any concrete data on flux? USGS: There is no concrete data on flux. The unknown variables necessary to calculate the data add in a large amount of uncertainty. We don’t see much change from earlier in the eruption, though.

July 17, 2018. Posted by USGSVolcanoes on Twitter.  Southern ocean entry area [Full-sized)

Other Photographers and Social Media

I’m having a little trouble sorting how how these side-by-side  (or above-and-below) images work, but here’s an interesting clip from Philip Ong:

Not that this video hasn’t been shown a hundred times already, but the laze-lightning flash, which I noticed on first viewing, isn’t getting much press because of the human side of this story. I wonder if laze lightning has ever been caught on video before.

I want to call attention to the next photo, but not for the reason you’d expect.

Just returned from Hawaii. Yooohooo!!! Fantastic beauty, crazy cool adventures.. And the winner is night boat ride to gates of hell. Where fiery lava of a volcano flows to the ocean. Nothing compares to it! Big Island, January 2017, 5 A.M. ———————————————————————————————————————— #igpodium #main_vision #gottolove_this #splendid_earth #nature_brilliance #magicpict #worldbestgram #global_hotshotz #ig_worldclub ##earth_shotz #vzcomood #majestic_earth #lifeofadventure #wildernessculture #ic_adventures #agameoftones #dream_image #awesome_photographers #ig_all_americas #earthofficial #moodygrams #jaw_dropping_shots #hot_shotz #nakedhawaii #fantastic_earth #welivetoexplore @nature.geography

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It’s dated to January 2017. (Lava from  Puʻu ʻŌʻō was entering the sea near Kalapana at the time.)

I’m seeing a lot of less-than-reputable news sites using this image (unattributed) as if it were a photo of yesterday’s incident rather than taken over a year ago. Some tweets are even doctoring it with the word “live” and a fake Youtube frame and playbutton to make it appear as if it were a still from a video.

A few more from the same album, again, over a year old:

Excursion to hell 😊 Shaking boat. Trembling hands. Boiling ocean. Quality of photo is close to zero. So what!? I hope you can imagine my excitement and admiration. Unbelievable power of Earth. Volcano flows to the ocean (part 2). Hawaii, Big Island, night ride, 5 A.M. _____________________________________ #main_vision #igpodium #gottolove_this #splendid_earth #earth_shotz #natgeotravelpic #nature_brilliance #agameoftones #moodygrams #vzcomood #worldshotz #big_shotz #worldbestgram #global_hotshotz #majestic_earth #liveoutdoors #lifeofadventure #wildernessculture #ic_adventures #awesome_photographers #fantastic_earth #earthofficial #hot_shotz #nakedhawaii #welivetoexplore #igglobalclub #ig_all_americas #igworldglobal

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Same photographer, different trip (April 2017).

There’s another 8 photos from two different 2017 lava tour boat trips on this photographer’s instagram.   Presumably there were no injuries on that trip, despite the dramatic (and probably color-enhanced) images, or we’d be hearing about how the current incident is a repeat of one last year.

I would like to thank all of you who have reached out to me following the accident yesterday on the Lava Boat. Myself, the rest of our crew & captain are fine, & our heart goes out to the people who were hurt. It does not sit well with me the amount of finger-pointing that has come out of this. Ive worked on this boat for many years, & I put my life in the hand of the captain every time I go out, because I feel safe. Yes accidents happen, & I want to make it abundantly clear that this could have happened to any of the Lava Boat tours, as every boat approaches the flow in the same way & distance. Despite this tragic happening I will continue to board this boat. Captain Shane is an admirable captain who’s skills to maneuver the boat distinguish him. In previous years when observing boats approach the flow while standing on land, The one thing you will notice or hear from viewers is how this captain skillfully maneuvers the boat like no other in comparison. This could have happened however to any of the captains and companies out there despite their skills and abilities. The only way I can compare this is to a jeep safari in Africa to go see lions. We know the lions are dangerous, like the lava. Every so often we hear about how a lion approaches the jeep and maybe mauls one of the photographers or tourists aboard. This is not the captain’s fault or in this case the driver of the jeep. It is a risk we take in life to see great things such as Lava and lions. When a lion jumps onto a jeep and hurts somebody we do not condemn the driver of the jeep we do not condemn the company giving these tours and people certainly do not stop booking seats aboard this very same jeep to continue to come and see the Lions. People know lions can potentially be dangerous, like the lava. Like the jeep tours to see lions, lava boat tours will continue. If going to see lions is not your thing don’t do it. If going to see the lava is not your thing then don’t do it. For those that want to see it, let them. It’s statistically still more dangerous to drive a vehicle than see lava. First injury like this in 15 years of lava boats, can’t say that about cars though, but we keep driving. Aloha

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