July 29 – HVO (and Lava Rooster’s Owners) in Search of a Home

Before and after: a new aerial photo of HVO on the rim of Kīlauea Caldera shows how greatly Halemaʻumaʻu has changed. For comparison, I found this 2008 photo in the USGS archives:

BEFORE: HVO on the summit of Kilauea Caldera. September 2008. Michael Poland, USGS. (Full-sized)

And here’s today’s overflight photo, from farther away.

July 29, 2018. USGS: “This aerial view of Kīlauea’s summit (taken early yesterday morning, looking south) shows some well-known features and some that are now more obvious as a result of ongoing collapse of Halema‘uma‘u and parts of the summit caldera floor. Crater Rim Drive (lower right) leads to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and NPS Jaggar Museum (right, middle), perched on the caldera rim and overlooking the growing Halema‘uma‘u. Ground cracks, parallel to the crater rim, are visible on the north side of Halema‘uma‘u (left side of image—also see our July 28 photo). South Sulphur Bank stands out as the light-colored area on the opposite crater wall (see our July 22 photo for a closer view of this feature).” (Full-sized)

The scientists of HVO had to abandon their 100-year-old observatory on the caldera rim mid-May. During the summer session, the University of Hilo was able to provide them with plenty of space for a temporary HQ. With fall term around the corner, HVO has leased part of the U.S. Customs Building in Hilo while they seek a more permanent solution. Because if and when the summit stabilizes, the old observatory will have to be rebuilt, or at the very least, will require massive repairs.

Speaking of the summit, today’s collapse event was at 12:10 pm, energy equivalent of M5.4. I captured the rockfalls 3-4 minutes before, as well as the actual summit collapse:

The clock on the Northeast Caldera Rim livestream is about a minute fast, but it’s so tiny you can’t see it anyway. The actual collapse starts about 1:30 into this video:

No changes on the Lower East Rift Zone eruption today.

Here’s the other HVO images for July 29 (as usual, I’m mirroring them because the HVO “Photo and Video Chronology” page only shows the 20 most recent entries, making images older than two weeks somewhat inaccessible.)

Continue reading July 29 – HVO (and Lava Rooster’s Owners) in Search of a Home