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.
Thursday May 18: Fissure eruptions went into overdrive [Good article from Star-Advertiser] as “fresher, hotter magma” (Janet Babb, USGS geologist) arrived from summit. Fissure 20 released a lava flow down toward coast, crossed Pohoiki Road, and isolated about 40 houses. Four cut-off residents were airlifted out.
Check out daylight screencap from late in the broadcast to get sense of scale: note house.
The USGS also posted a brief video clip of Fissure 17 in its Kilauea-Iki-like glory:
May 19, Friday afternoon, a new livestream started from same channel as before (civilbeat.org). They streamed through most of the night, occasionally shifting view from large fountain behind house (Fissure 17) to lava flow and a group of lava fountains building spatter ramparts (Fissure 20 merged with others) upslope to the right.
Friday, HawaiiNewsNow’s Milika Lincoln filmed same area in late morning from nearby location, near Lanipuni Gardens: fissure 17 fountain was now 500 feet tall. There seems to be a crater (pu’u) forming to the right of 17’s fountain. She also interviewed a resident who saw Fissure 17 form— as they talk, it roars. After dark, her crew’s footage is absolutely spectacular. (She’s calling it 19— either I’m mistaken about which one she’s watching, or she is.)
You can really tell this is hotter, fresher, more voluminous lava that drained from Pu’u O’o, as opposed to the old, stiffer, cooler lava that erupted from fissures in Leilani Estates the first two weeks of this eruption.
“Ground deformation is continuing with increased seismicity” in Lower East Rift Zone, and USGS warn lava inundation below them is possible, and that more fissures could still open uprift or downrift. “All fissures are actively spattering or actively degassing.” 40 structures lost.
May 17, 4:17 AM, the first honest-to-gosh steam explosion like they’ve been predicting (instead of just a rock and lava explosion) sent an ash cloud up 30,000 feet. Gemini Observatory caught it on timelapse:
According to volcanologist Erik Klemetti, the blast threw some 1000-pound blocks, the only place I’ve seen this. See blog post (more pics).
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:
Attention shifted back to the summit on May 9, when a 3.1 earthquake set off a rockfall that agitated the lava lake and sent up a 6000-foot poof of ash (video clip National Parks site):
Rockfalls caused poofs of ash like this even back when the lava lake was full, but that was more than usual. (See also USGS video from May 7, when lava lake was still visible, showing how falling rocks agitate it).
However, that was just a teaser. The big news was the dropping lava lake…
…prompted HVO to issue its first warning about steam explosions if the lava dropped below the water table.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park closed Friday May 11 as a precaution, since the lava lake was projected to reach the water table sometime that day. For the next few days it continued to send up a white plume of steam and/or ash clouds when rocks from the sides of the chimney fell in:
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.
At 12:33PM. a magnitude 6.9 earthquake knocked out power to some customers, agitated the summit lava lake (video clip), sent up yet more ash from Pu’u O’o (video clip), and caused minor local sea level fluctuations (Good article: Honolulu Star-Advertiser). Also see informative HVO Volcano Watch photo essay.
Below: Interview of HVO geologist Jim Kauahikaua, prior to 6.9 quake. Big Island Video News added lava footage from David Corrigan, Mick Kalber, Ikaika Marzo.
The floor of Pu’u O’o collapsed in stages starting at 2PM in the afternoon and evening of April 30. Poor weather, fog and clouds obscured the view, but the thermal webcam positioned on Pu’u O’o’s north rim captured it. Timelapse April 28-May 1:
This isn’t the first time it’s collapsed. Here’s a regular webcam timelapse movie of Pu’u O’o’s crater floor collapsing on March 5, 2011.