Here they be. They’re ballistic, in that they soar up and down like a cannonball, with the chimney above the lava lake acting sort of like a vertical cannon. But contrary to several headlines I saw, these rocks are not refrigerator-sized.
There is light ash dusting the area and turning it into a moonscape.
Media freaked out overnight when Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory issued a code red alert following a 12,000 foot tall ash explosion at the summit. The next morning they clarified:
USGS Volcanologist Michelle Coombs (EXCERPT):
So we’ve had some questions about what code red means. It sounds a little bit alarming, It’s really just to say that we see significant amounts of ash from this ongoing activity, and to warn aviators about that ash. It doesn’t mean that a really big eruption is imminent. it’s really just characterizing the aviation situation.
May 15, 11:05 AM: A major ash explosion up to 12,000 feet — which HVO still guesses was caused by rockfall into the receding lava lake— prompted HVO to raise the aviation alert level to RED, warning aircraft to stay away from the summit and ash hazards.
Unfortunately, news media took this RED ALERT to be “major eruption imminent,” instead of “no more imminent than it already is, since, as a matter of fact, it’s already erupting. But it could increase activity.”