This post got long, so I’ve moved the Q&A session to Part 3. Again, I’m transcribing what HVO geologists had to say at the June 28 Volcano Village community meeting.
Part 1 was Kyle Anderson’s talk on seismicity and ground deformation— lots of nitty gritty science— while Part 2 was Don Swanson’s slideshow of some of the visible changes he’s observed within Kīlauea Caldera, with a lot of photos I haven’t seen anywhere else.
Here’s the video of the whole meeting.
Here’s my transcription of the Q&A session. A lot of these questions have already been answered online, but I like hearing direct, personal responses from some of the senior HVO scientists:
While Kilauea claims homes, possessions, and places people loved— and animals, sadly— it’s a relatively benign volcano (as long asit remains in its lava-gushing“effusive phase”). Its “ballistic rocks” can’t fly much farther than half a mile. Ash and vog hamper quality of life, but aren’t instantly deadly. Its lava moves slowly enough for people to escape. Lava creates new land while it destroys, and it breaks down eventually into fertile soil. While it’s destructive, it’s also beautiful:
This is a "waterfall" of lava pouring into Green Lake that is inside the Kapoho Crater on Green Mountain. The lake…
That’s the life’s blood of a shield volcano like Kilauea. But there’s another kind of volcano I’ve mentioned before: stratovolcanoes like Krakatoa and Mount St. Helens. Their silica-rich, stiff, sticky lava piles up into steep mountains that can bottle up tremendous pressure before letting go. I’m afraid that’s probably what happened in Guatemala today.
Careless news media (even the BBC!) are claiming that a river of lava from volcan del Fuego killed over 20 people and injured dozens more. But all the videos I saw (apart from videos of Leilani Estates passed off as Guatemala) show pyroclastic flows:
Please spare some compassionate thoughts for the Guatemalans caught in this eruption. Most of them probably thought those gray clouds were just (cooled) ash, like what’s irritating Hawaiians living downwind from Halema’uma’u. (No, Kilauea’s not going to do that.)
Today’s kilauea eruption summary
As for Kilauea, the main news today was fissure 8’s lava flow making its finall approach to the shore through the Kapoho Beach Lots/Vacationland area.
And as if in response to news media headlines claiming it’s “fallen quiet,” the summit woke up again with a whole popcorn-popper’s worth of earthquakes, including a beefy M5.5 in the afternoon and an ash cloud rising to 8,000 feet.
Here’s my daily digest of Kilauea eruption news, including:
Updates/info from the USGS and other geologists
eruption news from Hawaii Civil Defense
Local news stations covering the eruption and its impact
relevant social media posts by informed eyewitnesses