Puna residents watch with a sinking feeling of “I told you so” as a ponderous a’a flow crossed Pahoa Pohoiki Road slightly north of the geothermal plant, inching towards it. Officials think they’ve got the wells quenched (I notice they quietly dropped the idea of plugging them), and that they’re safe.
Meanwhile, Fissure 7 is causing trouble in all directions; its lava pond has sent another flow “cascading into Pawaii crater” (6:15pm). Looking at the map, I’m betting that crater is an old vent from a previous fissure eruption just like this one. In addition to fluid/runny pahoehoe flows, some of the longer flows are a’a.
The summit has also been busy today, with three ash explosions reaching the ~10,000 foot height between midnight and dawn, and some reaching “as high as 12-13K‘ [above sea level]” this morning. Reminder: Kilauea is 4009 feet above sea level (asl).
Moving on. I’ve gotten in the habit of checking the Lower East Rift Zone webcam last thing before I post:
USGS webcam of LERZ. Grabbed just before midnight, May 26. Is that a lava flow coming towards the camera?
I do believe it is. Has that lava pond broken loose?
Lava tally as of Saturday morning: 41 houses, 82 structures total. A further 37 homes isolated by lava crossing roads. Lava has covered 3.7 square miles/2372 acres so far.
Here’s the usual roundup of the day’s eruption news, astonishing views, and geeky info by geologists:
Before this, the main thing USGS was using drones for was LIDAR, but today’s Photo & Multimedia entry on HVO’s website provides drone footage for both the summit steam/ash plume and Leilani/Puna lava flows.
This video was filmed on May 21, 2018, with a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle). Limited UAV flights above the hazardous Kīlauea summit area, which is currently too dangerous for geologists to enter for ground observations, are conducted with permission from the National Park Service. […] At Kīlauea Volcano’s summit, a nearly continuous plume of gas and steam billows out of the Overlook vent and drifts with the wind. Explosions are occurring about two times a day, producing ash that rises to a height of between 8,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level. Small ash emissions occur more frequently. The larger explosions produce ash that is blown downwind, and trace amounts have fallen in nearby communities.
This footage is from an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) hovering near fissure 22 during the overnight hours of May 22, 2018, and looking down on the fountaining fissure complex. The view rotates upward (to the south) to track channelized lava as it flows toward the Pacific Ocean, about 3 mi (5 km) away. The ocean entry is in the distance, recognizable by a small plume. The USGS National Unmanned Aircraft Systems Project Office is assisting with remote data collection and mapping of lava flows and hazards…
HVO’s Photo & Multimedia blog also posted impressive Hilo Civil Air Patrol aerial photos of the lava rivers from yesterday, as well as an image of Fissure 22 taking a nap (it’s still going but lower today on Civil Beat’s Livestream) while the fissures west of it (and uprift) that activated yesterday inundated Leilani Estates.
Earlier in the day… welcome to the Leilani Estates Lava lake. (warning: noisy)
The residents are being absolute champs in coping with this. Here’s another video clip of the lava lake with the homeowner whose home is just outside of it. They’re very philosophical, realizing they took a gamble, which is more mature than some of the people criticizing them for taking a chance on a place that hasn’t had an eruption in about 60 years. And they’re helping one another.
Oh, my mistake. It’s a lava pond.
Kilauea message: Fissure 22 lava output has increased a bit over the past several hours and its lava channel to the ocean entry is consequently a little more incandescent. Low-level spatter at fissures 15 and 16. Fissure 13 has a low fountain through its lava pond.
Mick Kalber’s helicopter overflight video today does a great job of showing the “pond,” the fissures headed from there past the geothermal plant, and the lava rivers flowing south from those fissures towards the ocea.
USGS Updates, News Roundup, And More Vivid Videos:
Not that it really matters which is which, but I like to know what I’m looking at. 22 is sending lava down to the ocean (and the geothermal plant.)
I think the livestream house is on that raised bump to the right of “PGV,” with the camera pointed SE. I guess this map was devised when 20 was having a low spell earlier today.
Mick Kalber’s usual stunning flyover vid including rivers of lava and lava flows meeting the sea:
Okay, now that we know where we are, what’s happening? Good images, clips and news tidbits after the cut. The main story today was concerns about lava encroaching on the PGV geothermal plant, and the hazards it poses. But first…
Mick Kalber’s daily helicopter flyover includes some intense views of the rivers of lava heading into the ocean, and the big complex of fountains— 20? 22? we’re starting to lose track— that have dominated the Lava Livestream With Rooster for the last several days.
The USGS thermal scan is very informative, too: an infrared satellite detects heat sources (the whiter the image, the hotter it is), and USGS then overlays it on a daylight satellite image of same area. Result, accurate map of where the main flows are, even when they crust over so the lava inside is hidden:
Below the cut: a digest of the day’s eruption news, USGS updates (summarized), and striking social media images and video clips like this:
Today’s big activities were: (1) massive lava fountains/flows in the Lower East Rift Zone/Lower Puna, entering the ocean at two points (2 modest ash explosions from Halema’uma’u crater (they looked to me like the 10,000 foot range). I’m going to stop worrying about whether they’re triggered by steam explosions or rockfalls.
Late afternoon HNN update includes footage of lava entry into ocean: