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.
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.
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.
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.
Kilauea message: Fissure 22 lava output has increased a bit over the past several hours and its lava channel to the ocean entry is consequently a little more incandescent. Low-level spatter at fissures 15 and 16. Fissure 13 has a low fountain through its 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:
It’s a day by day look at how this has unfolded for the shaken residents of Puna, for the state officials scrambling to address this fast-moving crisis, and for those who are front-row witnesses to the power of nature at its most destructive… and yet beautiful.
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 separatevents 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 eruptionhad 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.
News media have finally gotten wind of Civil Beat’slivestream. 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:
We don’t know if crater has ejected more “ballistics” (flying rocks) since USGS scientists aren’t risking personnel by entering the possible “flying rocks” zone. Right now they’re working from a temporary base of operations in Hilo.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park remains closed, not only to keep public out of range of flying rocks, but because of earthquake damage to trails and some park structures. These need to be assessed/repaired.
Park Rangers have set up in Hilo Bayfront to educate public about this historic eruption.
Oh look, another hazard from lava entering ocean: WATERSPOUTS.
And even when fissures don’t spout lava, they can still be dangerous:
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:
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:
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)
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.