Fissure 8 gushes on unchallenged and unchanged, while Fissure 22 — remember the chief subject of Lavacam?— has started spattering 50-80m and sending out a modest lava flow headed NE along the edge of previous flows.
Down at the coast, lava continues to ooze out from under much of the northern part of the delta along a broad front, with “pasty” lava squeezing out in several places along Kapoho Beach Lots.
As of 8:30pm 11pm HST, I’m waiting for confirmation of the next summit collapse/explosion.
Besides Fissure 22 reactivating in earnest, the news today is that new digital elevation maps and satellite images give us a clear view of the subsidence of Kilauea Caldera around Halema’uma’u, which has begun to show in livestream and webcam views lately.
First of all, USGS seismologist Kyle Anderson posted this color-coded slide of caldera ground deformation in his Thursday evening talk:
Next, the Italian Space Agency’s trusty Cosmo-Skymed satellite has sent us another radar survey of Kilauea. Even though I’d observed dramatic subsidence of the caldera floor in recent livestream and webcam images, the last frame of this animation made me gasp:
We are well on our way to a nested caldera, with Halema’uma’u taking up over half the larger caldera floor. I’m hoping those earthquakes indicate where the edge of the new inner caldera will be, but I’m not a geologist. Here’s those scarps they mentioned, posted a few days ago:
Last but not least, the USGS posted this map of the fracturing around Halema’uma’u. Note that the diagram is projected onto a satellite photo of the pre-May caldera, so there’s a ghostly image of the Halema’uma’u we remember in that dark gray area.
So there you have it. Who would’ve thought the draining of the lava lake, which was minuscule compared to the whole summit caldera, would’ve had a domino effect this large?
Fissure 8 continues to behave much as it has for the last month or so, looking ever more like a Mordor backdrop:
Today’s official HVO Kilauea update is a copy-and-paste of yesterday’s, apart from this small addition describing the lava delta: “lava is moving beneath the crust and into [the] still-molten interior of earlier flows before it enters the sea in multiple oozeouts.” Like this:
Unfortunately, some of those “oozeouts” are occurring at the edge of Kapoho Beach Lots as well. At least one home burned today, perhaps more.
Check the Hawaii County Fire Department photos later in this post (or the Bruce Omori photos at the end of the post) to see what the slow-moving expansion into Kapoho Beach Lots looks like right now.
Kilauea’s summit is changing visibly day by day. Today’s collapse explosion came at 2:51pm, 31 hours after the previous event. Mag 5.3, as usual, with a 500-foot ash-poor plume (captured on livestream). It was somewhat obscured by dust from multiple rockfalls 3 minutes earlier. Here’s a before-and-after:
Exactly 8 weeks after the Lower East Rift Zone eruption began in Leilani Estates on May 3, Fissure 8 continues to gush unabated. Its fountains are contained within its 55-meter (180 ft) cone, and this morning’s overflight showed no active overflows.
For the past day or so, the lava river has crusted over on the last half mile to the ocean. This has allowed lava seeps, described by Steve Brantley in his Tuesday evening talk, to creep into still-molten earlier flows on the northern side of the lava delta. This “lava seepage” is oozing into the ocean along a broad front, encroaching onto what’s left of Kapoho Beach Lots on the northern edge of the flow:
At Kilauea’s summit, the most recent collapse explosion occurred at 4:49am this morning, sending up an ash-poor plume about 1000 feet, with the energy release of a 5.3 earthquake. The sides of Halema’uma’u continue to collapse inward and downwards, especially during each explosive event.
The big news today is that the National Park Service and USGS arranged a brief escorted tour for local news media to the rim of Kilauea Caldera, which has been closed to visitors for 49 days. There was also a half hour press briefing.
So today there’s suddenly a lot more videos and views of what the caldera looks like:
Fissure 8 just keeps on going, as if it’s settling in for a Pu’u O’o eruption rather than a 1955/1960 eruption. Once again, there’s minor overflows upriver that don’t go anywhere. The ocean entry is mostly via the channel on the south side of the lava delta, but there’s also trickles along a kilometer-wide stretch of shore. Fissure 22 showed incandescence but no lava during the USGS morning overflight.
The USGS was skimpy on images today but gave us a treat: a timelapse of what they call “lava boats.”
Here’s their explanation: “Geologists captured this time-lapse video of the perched lava channel issuing from fissure 8 on Kīlauea’s lower East Rift Zone. Rafts of accreted lava move down stream and look like boats moving down a river. These are termed lava balls or lava boats and form when portions of the fissure 8 cone or levees break away and are rafted down stream. As they move along in the channel, additional lava can cool to their surface to form accretionary lava balls.”
After lots of minor earthquakes and rockfalls that sent up small plumes of dust, the daily summit “collapse explosion” occurred at 4:34pm. It sent up a 2000-foot plume, once again equivalent to 5.3 earthquake. Again, I couldn’t resist a video capture:
The runup to today’s explosion was impressive. There was one cascade of dust and rubble all the way around the walls that I would’ve taken for the day’s explosive event, except that there was no camera shake beforehand. Doubtless it was one of these:
There’s not much news today, so let’s hitch a ride with the Hawaii County Fire Department and follow the lava river to the ocean. But first….
More on Lava Boats
I’d asked about the “lava boats” before that video was posted: “What’s forming those so-called “lava bergs”? Are they chunks off the sides of the levees? Do they indicate erosion/undermining of lava channel’s banks analogous to meanders of an H20 river, with risk of wearing through?”
@USGSVolcanoes offered some additional info in response: “They are chunks of the sides of levees as well as bits of the cone. As lava moves by them in the channel, they can be coated, dislodged, etc. Different than water – lava cools against cooler surfaces (channel sides) & we’ve started to see portions roofing over (forming tubes).” And when someone else asked if the whole 8 mile channel might become a lava tube: “It’s a possibility, but not necessarily guaranteed. It’s easier in places where the channel is already narrow.”
Which doesn’t answer my question about erosion/meanders, but looking back, they answered another question about braided lava channels on June 11 with this paper, which emphasizes that viscosity is a major factor in lava flows, whereas in H2O it’s particles in water.
Someone else’s Q on “lava boats”: ” Are these what’s floating beyond the ocean entry? USGS: That’s a different process. The chunks floating beyond the ocean entry are bits of very bubble-rich lava-rock. When lava enters the sea there is sometimes an explosive process that expels rocks – the heat of the rock combined with the amount of bubbles causes these pieces to float for a while. Eventually, they cool, fill with water, and sink.
Awkward place to stick this, but so I don’t forget: this week’s HVO “Volcano Watch” newsletter focused on “Mauna Loa Back to Normal.“
More USGS on Social Media
Q: What will happen if the summit collapse continues? USGS: There are several options: It could enlarge #Halemaumau to a point and then the explosive activity could stop, or it could enlarge the crater and the explosions could change character.
Aha! It turns out the USGS posted photos today only on Facebook. Someday when things calm down, they need to comb their social media channels and make sure they’ve archived everything on the HVO website and/or USGS media library.
If the USGS is too busy to post photos, the Hawai’i County Fire Department takes up the slack. (Unlike Facebook, Flickr is Google-able). Today Civil Defense shared their latest photo album, and once again I’m impressed by the definition of the camera they’re using compared to everybody else.
A small sample:
Looking southeast towards the “Y” junction at Pokoihi Rd, Kapoho Rd and 132 (Google Map) with Puna Geothermal Ventures in the background on the left:
Left and right, as different as night and day:
A disagreeable neighbor:
Looking towards the new lava delta:
Past the Lava Rooster house (near that mast):
Past the Cinder Pit:
Around Kapoho Crater (and former Green Lake):
To the sea. (Note upwelling.)
Effects extend offshore…
So far, so lucky. (Note the 1960 lava flow with roads on it.)
(warning: helicopter noise)
Sorry, got carried away. But there’s another 98 photos/videos in that album, including video all along the route and detailed views of houses, farms, even a dock.
A lot of the landscape resembles a hell-like atmosphere. The stench of sulfur, the rumble of the lava boil, and death as far as the eye can see. It's both magical and extraordinarily sad. #KilaueaEruptionpic.twitter.com/XWzQcbDX4u
Fissure 8 continues as usual, sending its lava river down to the ocean at Kapoho, with a “dominant ocean entry on the south edge of the flow front…producing a large laze plume.” Minor, brief overflows upstream aren’t traveling past previous lava flows. Fissure 6 is inactive; 16 incandescent; 22 woke up and was fountaining weakly during the USGS morning overflight.
I spent this afternoon putting together a gif of the last 28 days of HVO wide angle Kilauea images, using screencaps I’ve taken supplemented with screengrabs from the same webcam archived by Hawaii247:
In today’s digest:
Video capture of today’s summit explosion (warning: dark)
Status quo continues, with Fissure 8 feeding a large, fast-flowing channel to the ocean, where it’s entering on the south side of the lava delta today. Upstream along the river, there’s occasional spillovers, but these never travel far from the levees. Top speeds on June 18 were measured at 20mph, by the way. Fissures 6 and 16 have reverted to fuming. (I see no white speck left of Fissure 8 on the LERZ webcam [correction: it’s back at 9:45pm]). Today’s summit explosion occurred at 4:22am (5.3ish), with a minor ash plume rising 6,000 feet above sea level (2000 feet above Kilauea).
Saying Goodbye (At Least For Now)
Today’s big news was confirmation that Jaggar Museum has evacuated its exhibits:
Hawaii Volcanoes NPS: “The cracks on the floor are from earthquake damage. Structural damage from the quakes may have already compromised the building. The observation deck has a new and noticeable tilt. The bigger worry is the increasing and dangerous instability of the crater rim under the building.”
Fissure 8’s still doing its thing, fountaining 150-180 feet overnight with 164 foot spatter cone. The usual minor spillovers on the channel to the ocean. Today the lava’s entering the ocean mostly on the south side of the lava delta in the vicinity of Vacationland. Fissure 16/18 are still oozing, and fissure 6 (the bright spot to the left of Fissure 8 on the LERZ webcam at night) is intermittently incandescent or spattering. Both are “forming small lava flows on top of the existing flows.”
The summit’s daily explosion occurred at 6:12 am, moment magnitude 5.3. It produced a “very small, minor plume that went no more than 500 meters above the ground.” (Brian Shiro in 11AM conference call):
I rewound the Kilauea livestream to watch. The crater was steaming with small white puffy clouds of morning condensation. I saw the window frame vibrate, but the short-lived plume of ash/steam obscured the crater rim, so I didn’t spot any downdrops or rockfalls like we’ve seen for the past few days.
Below: Lots of great photos of summit and LERZ lava field today, and excellent Q&As from USGS on social media.
Meanwhile, Kilauea continues to follow the recent status quo, summed up in HVO’s afternoon Kilauea update.
The Lower East Zone’s unnamed giant booms in its cone, fountains rising to 165 feet, lava cascading out of it at 15mph.
USGS: Pu’u continues to make bid for naming. (Full-sized)Fissures 16/18 keep oozing or spattering. “Incandescence (visible in PGcam to the left of fissure 8 most nights) and mild spattering were observed from Fissure 6.”
bLet’s see. Are you there tonight, Spot?
“The flow field is relatively stable with little change to its size and shape for the past few days…”
“Observations are also collected on a daily basis from cracks in the area of Highway 130; no changes in temperature, crack width, or gas emissions have been noted for several days…”
At the summit, the daily subsurface explosion occured at 6:26am HST. “The resulting gas plume, reported to be brief and nearly devoid of ash, was observed to 5,000 to 7,000 ft above sea level.”
This is the eighth day in a a row the daily event has released the energy of a 5.3 earthquake. For the month of June, they’ve all fallen in a range of 5.0 to 5.4.
“After this morning’s explosive event, seismicity at Kīlauea’s summit is slowly increasing. Inward slumping of the rim and walls of Halemaʻumaʻu continues in response to ongoing subsidence at the summit.”
Below the cut: a little local news, one of Mick Kalber’s best overflights of the Fissure 8/Kapoho area, and the work of a must-see photographer.
There was still a column of steam at that spot when I checked an hour later, but I don’t recall it spinning.
Okay, enough fiddling with the livestream.
What else happened today? Same as the last few days, to the point that I had to double-check the date on today’s HVO Kilauea status report. Fissure 8’s cone is holding at 170 feet, fountains currently around 185-200 feet. Fissure 16/18 continues to ooze.
The lava river is running as fast as ever:
Despite the increased vog due to lack of tradewinds, that’s the clearest overflight video I’ve seen in days.
Mick Kalber notes the pahoehoe channel now cuts all the way through the a’a field to the ocean, which may explain recent videos of lava racing at amazing speeds…
Fissure8’s “three closely space fountains” are starting to climb down, reported at 115-130 feet last night, and “fluctuating heights from below the 115 ft high spatter cone around it up to 180 feet” this afternoon. But its lava flow is still full to its banks, entering the ocean in Kapoho with minor steam explosions. “Weak lava activity” was spotted at fissure 16/18 last night.
Last night, Kilauea’s summit hiccuped: there was a small explosion at 12:46am, after which, seismicity did not drop off until after another, larger explosion at 4:43am like the ones we’ve seen lately (registered as M5.4).
Since Saturday, Fissure 8’s gas emissions have been much higher than last week, whereas summit SO2 is half what it was before the current eruption. (I’m not sure why HVO’s Kilauea alerts report “volcanic gasses” for one and only SO2 for the other.)
(The “Lava Livestream” house is still safe, if marooned, near white mast):
Here’s a double feature from Mick Kalber’s daily overflights— below is his June 11 lava video, but I missed his June 10 flyover vid and lava update notes.
Below the cut: more great images, overflight vids, and some interesting USGS answers to questions on social media.