August 27: After Fire, Flood (Hurricane Lane)

August 22, 2018. USGS: “Parts of Kīlauea’s caldera floor are now a jumble of down-dropped blocks and surface cracks. HVO field crews carefully hiked along Crater Rim Drive yesterday to verify the locations of USGS benchmarks (lower left), which will be used for additional geophysical work that will help document the recent summit changes. The view is to the northwest with one flank of Mauna Loa visible in the distance (upper right).” (Full-sized)
Weekly Eruption Summary

After a busy few months, Kilauea continues to rest with only a pilot light on, so to speak. This week’s big news was that Hurricane Lane passed offshore of the Big Island on Thursday through Saturday, causing extensive flash flooding. But there’s still a little news to report on the dying (?) embers of Kilauea’s 2018 eruption.

On Friday morning, the Hawaii County Fire Department observed a small lava pond still visible deep in Fissure 8’s cone. For most of the week, there was no visible activity apart from a few small jets deep in the cone throwing weak spatter on Monday morning:

August 20, 2018. USGS: “This morning, USGS scientists flying over fissure 8 noticed a change in the vent from yesterday. Gas jets were throwing spatter—fragments of glassy lava (light gray deposits)—from small incandescent areas deep within the cone. This activity is an indication that the lower East Rift Zone eruption may be paused rather than pau (over).” (Full-sized)

The sputtery jets proved to be temporary:

August 21, 2018. USGS: “Southward facing aerial view of the fissure 8 cone. The two small areas of incandescence, gas jetting, and spatter from yesterday photograph appeared crusted over today.” (Full-sized)

Down at the ocean at Kapoho, there were a few weak dribbles of lava continuing to drain out of the delta at the beginning of the week:

August 20, 2018. USGS photo of residual lava entering ocean, posted on their facebook page here.

Sulfur dioxide emissions continue to be very low both at the summit and the coast. In fact, on Tuesday, they dropped too low in the Lower East Rift Zone for instruments to measure, although not too low for highly-sensitive human noses to detect.

Video from August 17 posted on the 20th— full-sized version here.

Heavy rain from Hurricane Lane on Friday and Saturday put a hold on USGS overflights and field observations and knocked out a few sensors on the east side of the island. But Kilauea’s extensive sensor network means there was no gap in volcano monitoring, and field crews were on call just in case.

The hurricane had no impact on the volcano apart from heavy rainfall hitting hot rocks and turning to steam in Pu’u O’o’s crater and on the not-yet-cooled lava flows of the LERZ. There were some reports of local white-out conditions from this steam. Rain may also have triggered a few rockfalls at the summit.

The other big Kilauea news this week is that Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has set a target reopening date for September 22, aiming to reopen at least the Visitor Center and (they hope) some kind of viewing area from which visitors will be able to see the new, larger Halema’uma’u Crater. They’re also hoping to open Volcano House, but they need to check the stability of the cliffs on which it stands.

USGS Volcano Watch

Whoops! I think I missed last week’s edition. This is Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s weekly column with photos and in-depth information on some aspect of Kilauea.

Continue reading August 27: After Fire, Flood (Hurricane Lane)