May 28: Rivers of Fire, Lava Livestream is back

Today’s Eruption Summary

About 7PM yesterday, a large pahoehoe flow suddenly burst out and went galloping through Leilani Estates. Civil Defense called for emergency evacuations. Firefighters had to guide one person to safety (with assistance of drone team tracking lava) when the flow covered his drivewayUSGS and Civil Defense reported that vigorous fountains 7 and especially 8 were responsible for the outbreak: fountaining 150-200 feet high, they built up a spatter rampart 100 feet tall and fueled a monster pahoehoe 20-40 feet thick. Speed augmented by the perched lava pond breaching (dam gave way, basically).

You can get a sense of last night’s outbreak from this timelapse of the Lower East Rift Zone webcam over the past few days.

The flows from yesterday slowed and stopped this morning. Most of the day’s activity was fairly subdued, with “only a minor ooze of residual lava” making it down to the ocean. But this evening, fissure 8 and other vents went into overdrive again, pouring out rivers of lava and prompting more emergency evacuations (Civil Defense notice) (HVO/USGS Alert).

Lava livestream

Honolulu Civil Beat is back to let us watch nature’s pyrotechnics from about 2km away and a crucial 200 feet up.

It’s mesmerizing to watch, but a sobering sight as well, knowing homes downstream are burning and some people are in danger. 

I can’t watch now; I have a post to write. Where was I? Continue reading May 28: Rivers of Fire, Lava Livestream is back

May 25: End of the Road for Leilani Estates?

It looks like the coup de grace for Leilani Estates, or at least its eastern part.

USG Photo, May 25, noon overflight. Fissures 6 (left) and 13 (right) send lava flows south that join and flow down to ocean (white laze plume in distance). Note metal roof(?) embedded in lava at lower left. [Full-sized]
Three weeks ago Leilani’s streets were lacerated by fissures, battered by lava spattering from cracks, and blocked off by ponderous flows that seldom traveled far from their source. But that was a slow-motion disaster. Most fissures were active only a few hours. While a few unlucky residents lost homes in the first wave, most were able to return and collect vital possessions, or even risked dangerous fumes to stay.

Last week, the main lava activity shifted east, downrift, overrunning smaller Lanipuna Gardens, threatening the PGV geothermal plant, and inundating fields and woods where homes were more scattered.  “Hotter, fresher” magma arrived last Thursday with a roar, spurting in several-hundred foot fountains and flooding forests with rivers of fast-moving pahoehoe lava. On Saturday night, these channels reached the ocean.

It was only a reprieve. A few days ago, the fissures that had given Leilani grief began reactivating. The group of fountains monitored by HCB’s livestream began to subside as uprift vents pilfered their magma supply.  Leilani’s reinvigorated vents poured out so much lava they created a pond, as well as sending new flows down to the sea. And through people’s houses:

Today, more streets were buried. Firefighters went door-to-door urging the last holdouts to flee before lava reaches them. Even parts of lower Puna not yet menaced by lava were ordered to leave before their remaining escape routes are cut off. Just in case, authorities have sent in the Marines.

82 structures lost. A two mile stretch of fissures in a residential area is pouring out an astonishing 40-60 cubit feet per second. And yet only 3.4 square miles have been covered by lava in this eruption, on an island of over 4000 square miles. But that doesn’t make it any easier for those affected.

Below, a roundup of Friday’s images, videos, USGS news, and reports from local news stations.

Continue reading May 25: End of the Road for Leilani Estates?

May 24: USGS Acquires Drones, Leilani Estates Acquires Lava Lake

Before this, the main thing USGS was using drones for was LIDAR, but today’s Photo & Multimedia entry on HVO’s website provides drone footage for both the summit steam/ash plume and Leilani/Puna lava flows.

SUMMIT ERUPTION:

This video was filmed on May 21, 2018, with a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle). Limited UAV flights above the hazardous Kīlauea summit area, which is currently too dangerous for geologists to enter for ground observations, are conducted with permission from the National Park Service. […] At Kīlauea Volcano’s summit, a nearly continuous plume of gas and steam billows out of the Overlook vent and drifts with the wind. Explosions are occurring about two times a day, producing ash that rises to a height of between 8,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level. Small ash emissions occur more frequently. The larger explosions produce ash that is blown downwind, and trace amounts have fallen in nearby communities.

Addendum: there was a 6PM 10,000 foot ash explosion & plume this evening (Civil Defense photo, USGS video), sending ash southwest.

PUNA LAVA ERUPTION:

This footage is from an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) hovering near fissure 22 during the overnight hours of May 22, 2018, and looking down on the fountaining fissure complex. The view rotates upward (to the south) to track channelized lava as it flows toward the Pacific Ocean, about 3 mi (5 km) away. The ocean entry is in the distance, recognizable by a small plume. The USGS National Unmanned Aircraft Systems Project Office is assisting with remote data collection and mapping of lava flows and hazards…

HVO’s Photo & Multimedia blog also posted impressive Hilo Civil Air Patrol aerial photos of the lava rivers from yesterday, as well as an image of Fissure 22 taking a nap (it’s still going but lower today on Civil Beat’s Livestream) while the fissures west of it (and uprift) that activated yesterday inundated Leilani Estates.

As an aside: people keep posting ridiculous rumors, so the USGS had to reassure everybody that Mauna Loa is NOT erupting.

Latest video this evening from HNN reporter Mileka Lincoln:

Earlier in the day… welcome to the Leilani Estates Lava lake. (warning: noisy)

The residents are being absolute champs in coping with this. Here’s another video clip of the lava lake with the homeowner whose home is just outside of it. They’re very philosophical, realizing they took a gamble, which is more mature than some of the people criticizing them for taking a chance on a place that hasn’t had an eruption in about 60 years. And they’re helping one another.

Oh, my mistake. It’s a lava pond.

Mick Kalber’s helicopter overflight video today does a great job of showing the “pond,” the fissures headed from there past the geothermal plant, and the lava rivers flowing south from those fissures towards the ocea.

USGS Updates, News Roundup, And More Vivid Videos:

Continue reading May 24: USGS Acquires Drones, Leilani Estates Acquires Lava Lake

May 21: Daily Roundup, Fire & Water Edition

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.

May 21 Fissure Map (USGS Maps page)

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:

May 21 Heat map of today’s flows (USGS Maps page)

Below the cut: a digest of the day’s eruption news, USGS updates (summarized), and striking social media images and video clips like this:

Continue reading May 21: Daily Roundup, Fire & Water Edition

May 20: Sunday Eve News/Images Roundup

Today’s big activities were: (1) massive lava fountains/flows in the Lower East Rift Zone/Lower Puna, entering the ocean at two points (2 modest ash explosions from Halema’uma’u crater (they looked to me like the 10,000 foot range). I’m going to stop worrying about whether they’re triggered by steam explosions or rockfalls.

Late afternoon HNN update includes footage of lava entry into ocean:

Oh good, Mick’s posted the day’s flyover. Noisy helicopter, incredible views:

Also, the lava livestream continues. Someone posted a screencap with USGS scientists working below Fissure 20, giving a sense of scale:

KITV archived HVO’s afternoon alert:

Continue reading May 20: Sunday Eve News/Images Roundup

May 19: Lava, Lava Everywhere

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.

May 13: Fissure 17 Starts

I’ve not covered every single fissure: see the HVO Photo/Multimedia blog, the HVO timeline, KITV, and HawaiiNewsNow for fissure-by-fissure coverage, not to mention HNN reporter Milika Lincoln’s Instagram vids and photos, and Mike Kalbers’ wonderful daily flyovers.

Activity ebbed and flowed, some days with more steam, some with more spatter. For the most part, lava flows didn’t go very far, and were largely sticky, clumpy, clanky a’a. But I bookmarked fissure 17 early on for particularly dramatic fountains (those blocks it’s hurling are called “lava bombs”) and incredible booms and roars:

#LeilaniEstatesEruption LATEST (May 15 at 8:30 AM): Incredible new sunrise footage captures the sounds and sight of lava fountains and gas bombs erupting from the 17th fissure — which broke out Saturday off of Halekamahina Loop Road northeast of Lanipuna Gardens on the Kalapana side of Highway 132. According to USGS HVO scientists, fissure 17 has created a narrow lava flow heading makai — or downslope toward the ocean — and has already covered about two miles. Civil Defense officials say based on their last measurement, this flow front is now a little less than a mile from Highway 137. At one point yesterday, it was moving at a rate of about 100 yards an hour, but it has since slowed a bit. The flow has been running roughly parallel to Highway 132 or Pahoa Kapoho Road. Officials say it's heading east in the direction of Kapoho toward Highway 137 — also called Old Government Beach Road, or more commonly referred to by residents as Waa Waa Road. This fissure has already claimed one structure — but officials say there are currently no homes or buildings in its current path. This has been the longest-lasting, most active fissure of the 20 that have opened up since this the first on May 3 along Mohala Street within #LeilaniEstates. Stay tuned to @HawaiiNewsNow for the very latest developments #HInews #HawaiiNews #HNN #HawaiiNewsNow #WeAreYourSource (Video: @bradah.dom / @ikaikamarzo)

A post shared by Mileka Lincoln (@milekalincoln) on

and it was the first one that really seemed to be making a run for the ocean and creating a sustained lava flow.

Here’s May 13 and 14th flyovers from Mick Kalber:

Luckily, it chose a route that doesn’t have many houses downslope. And unlike other fissures, it just kept going and going.

And (since I’m posting this backdated): it’s still going on May 19, after making quite an impressive lava fountain and cinder cone for itself over the past two nights.

May 7-9: Fissures Slow Down (For Now)

Fissures continued to open, but mostly emitted slow, sticky lava that didn’t travel far. Leilani residents continued to be allowed back during the daytime.

Video: lava flow eats Mustang (dead battery; owner left it to focus on rescuing other possessions), another flow pushes through metal gate.  These slow-moving, clumpy, clanking flows that pile up like a rocky bulldozer are “a’a” lava.

More fissure news/Videos from May 7 until 10:
  • May 7: USGS Status Report (12 fissures total by afternoon)
  • May 8: Mike Kalber video of Fissure 13 steaming, spattering
  • May 8-9: Good article from Hononulu Star-Advertiser (videos, detailed info on progress of eruption, evacuations)
  • May 8: Evening Civil Defense Update from Big Island Video News with lava footage. 14 fissures by day’s end.
  • May 9: Video – Mike Kalber flyover of fissure eruptions; today steaming, not much lava
  • May 9: Video clips – Steaming fissures sound like they’re breathing,  huff and puff
  • 15 fissures by end of May 9, cracks (but not lava) open W. of Highway 130, back up rift zone.
  • Fissure eruptions pause on May 10. Briefly.

May 5: Pu’u O’o, Before and After

Screencaps from Mick Kalber flyover videos April 28 and May 4(?) as noted by @ReelNewsHawaii on Twitter.