Full unabridged audio here. Abridged version in video:
transcript/paraphrase of full conference call (my notes):
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).
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:
Tuesday evening, USGS Volcanologist Steve Brantley gave a presentation in Pahoa High School. A lot of it is fairly simple, recapping the eruption for residents of Puna. I’ve covered most of what he does in previous posts. But there are a few new tidbits.
His takeaway is worth seeing if you don’t read/watch the rest:
…until that balance is reached, or something else changes, we expect magma to continue moving from the summit reservoir into the rift zone and further down into the Lower East Rift Zone. So that suggests that we’re in it for the long haul. We don’t know how long this eruption’s going to last, but for now, it looks like it’s just going to continue.
— Honolulu Civil Beat (@CivilBeat) May 23, 2018
I’m still wondering, and there’s absolutely no way to know: will this follow the pattern of the 1955 Kapoho eruption in whose footsteps it’s following? (Same general area, and in fact for the first two weeks that slow-moving lava coming out was mostly 1955’s leftovers.)
“The [Kapoho] eruption lasted for 88 days and opened at least 24 separate vents that stretched nine miles from Kapoho to west of the Pāhoa-Kalapana road. Numerous lava flows cut all access to lower Puna covering over six miles of public roads. The eruption required the evacuation of most coastline residents from Kapoho to Kalapana for an extended period.”—USGS
A few months is a major disruption to daily life, but that’s really not too long before residents can start picking up the pieces.
Here’s the thing. This lava came down the East Rift Zone after the bottom of Pu’u O’o Crater collapsed and all its lava drained away. And that unusually long-lasting eruption had been going since 1983. If this is the same magma from the same source, just emerging from a different location, it could go for years.
P.S.. from the HVO website: “Kilauea – 2018-05-23 04:37:34
Another small summit explosion at 10:18 UTC / 00:18 HST 23 May.” Every night, another poof or two. I feel for the people downwind; while ash isn’t as destructive as lava, it’s still disruptive, bad for plants and machinery, and especially hard on people with respiratory issues.
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…
News media have finally gotten wind of Civil Beat’s livestream. Some have gotten the homeowner’s permission to film broadcasts on the same porch, so you may hear them if you tune in. At other times, the homeowners or friends they’ve let use the house stop by. It’s surreal yet oddly comforting to hear the homey noises of people, a pet parkeet (?), and wild chickens outside while towering, terrifying yet magnificent lava fountains boom and chuff.
As for the big picture, we’re starting to settle into a routine with Kilauea’s ongoing double eruption:
#LeilaniEstatesEruption #KilaueaVolcano: New overnight footage of fissure activity approaching the Puna Geothermal Venture plant taken around 3AM by photographer Andrew Hara; @CivilDefenseHI says lava on PGV property hasn’t advanced https://t.co/hucqBWkt77 @HawaiiNewsNow #HINews pic.twitter.com/UVrNm0sPNp
— Mileka Lincoln (@MilekaLincoln) May 22, 2018
Another beautiful morning at the summit. #PGV #halemaumau #kapohotidepools #earthquake #Hawaii #hvnp #hppa #volcano #Kilauea #lava #NEWSで妄想 #KilaueaVolcano #LeilaniEstates #travel #BigIsland #Kapoho pic.twitter.com/FR3dcWGB4d
— lavapix.com (@lavapixcom) May 22, 2018
Oh look, another hazard from lava entering ocean: WATERSPOUTS.
And even when fissures don’t spout lava, they can still be dangerous:
Grandes Grietas se abren hoy en la cima de South Moku ST, Pāhoa, #Hawaii Island, el 22.05.2018 por Tan Hunt. #Massive #Crack #Sinkhole #KilaueaVolcano #Zabedrosky #Phenomena #Volcano #LeilaneEstates pic.twitter.com/yRPzwxo4WW
— ⚠David de Zabedrosky🌎 (@deZabedrosky) May 22, 2018
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:
Wow. Otherworldly video of the Kilauea volcanic eruption on Hawaii's Big Island. pic.twitter.com/f8u9ZjenKx
— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) May 20, 2018
There’s two lava livestreams on Youtube this morning, same location, Honolulu CivilBeat mostly focusing on Fissure 20, ~1000 yards away. WXchasing moving camera more often [ETA: WX stream now archived]. HCB said Fissure 17 (3/5 a mile away) has built up a cinder cone 300 feet tall.
Last night, Fissure 20’s lava flow crossed Highway 137 and reached the ocean at 11PM, leaving some Puna residents with one escape route. Filed under “things I didn’t know,” Civil Defense warns of “Laze,” a spray of hot steam, hydrochloric acid, and “fine glass particles” when lava hits seawater.
Also filed under “things I didn’t know”: “Methane gas, produced as lava buries vegetation, can migrate in subsurface voids and explode when heated.” (USGS)
This… is just incredible.
The first two weeks of sputtering fissures, slow-moving flows were prelude. Thursday night, the rivers and fountains of runny pahoehoe lava arrived. Today, Saturday afternoon, the overflight videos are historic.
From USGS (loud helicopter):
Fissures 16-20 joined up this Saturday and are marching towards the ocean, expected to cross Highway 137 tonight. Civil defense warns to keep away from ocean entry, if/when the lava reaches the shore, to avoid “laze.”
From Mick Kalber:
I have no words.
Well, okay, I do. I hope everyone down there is safely away. It’s been a hard day for a bunch of people who can’t go home now.
HNN posted a brief video recap of some of the incredible lava river/fountains last night, identifying it as Lanipuna Gardens (I wasn’t sure.)
Today, Honolulu Civil Beat just left the camera on, and the lava just keeps coming.
Yep, Rusty the Rooster is still trying to tell us it’s morning.
However, despite using a still from dawn Friday morning showing Fissure 17 at its most glorious, its cinder cone is now much higher than it is.
Friday night it was incredibly spectacular, but by Saturday the group of combined fountains at Fissure 20 had taken the spotlight, sending vast amounts of Pahoehoe down to the ocean. That said, 17 continued be loud; it’s the one that sounds like a thundering detonation or jet engine in short, loud bursts.