Men Get Lost Trying to View Lava – Fire Department Helicopter Saves the Day

Two male newcomers to the Big Island got lost in a heavily forested area of the Big Island in what appears to be an attempt to see the lava flow.

Hawaii Fire Department reports that the party was lost on their way coming out of the “pristine rainforest” Thursday, January 29, 2015.  On the way out of the forest they couldn’t find the trail they came in and called a friend on their cell phones to report that they were lost.

They stayed overnight in the forest and Hawaii County Fire Department’s Chopper One assisted in rescuing them this morning.

Here is the Fire Departments incident report:

Stupid Lava Hikers

New USGS Pictures Shows Puna Lava Flow Still Active

The leading tip of the June 27th flow has not advanced significantly over the past week, and remains roughly 500 meters (550 yards) upslope of Highway 130, west of the fire and police station.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Breakouts persist upslope, however, and these areas of activity can be spotted in this photograph by small smoke plumes where the lava is burning vegetation on the flow margins.

This comparison of a normal photograph and a thermal image shows the position of active breakouts relative to the inactive flow tip. The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image on the right.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

In the thermal image, active breakouts are visible as white and yellow areas. Although active breakouts are absent at the inactive tip of the flow, breakouts are present just a short distance behind the tip, and are also scattered further upslope.

This photograph looks downslope, and shows the proximity of the flow front to the highway.  Click to enlarge

This photograph looks downslope, and shows the proximity of the flow front to the highway. Click to enlarge

A small breakout from the lava tube is burning forest just left of the center of the photograph. In the upper left, thick fume is emitted from Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Near the top of the photograph, the snow-covered peak of Mauna Loa can be seen.

This photograph looks upslope along the ground crack system of Kīlauea's East Rift Zone.  Click to enlarge

This photograph looks upslope along the ground crack system of Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone. Click to enlarge

Pāhoa Lava Viewing Area Closing

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation will stop operating the Pāhoa Lava Viewing Area at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 31.

The June 27 Lava flow nearly took out the transfer station.

The June 27 Lava flow nearly took out the transfer station.

Located at the Pāhoa Transfer Station, the free viewing area is being shut down so the facility can be converted back to its original use as a public trash-collection site.

Pahoa Transfer Station

It also is closed today, January 27, and will be closed again on Thursday, January 29, so schoolchildren displaced by recent lava activity may take field trips to the viewing area and see the stalled front.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

Pāhoa Pool Nighttime Swim Program Temporarily Suspended

The new nighttime swim program at the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center is being temporally suspended so the pool may be upgraded to better meet patrons’ needs.

Pahoa Pool

Until further notice, Monday, January 26, will mark the last of the nighttime open-swim sessions offered at the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center. Lighting and other safety enhancements are needed before the pilot program will be reinstated.

In response to swimmers’ requests for longer operating hours, the Department of Parks and Recreation earlier this month started keeping the pool open until 8 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights.

Normal operating hours of 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. closure on weekends) will resume at the Pāhoa Community Aquatic Center starting Tuesday, January 27.

Information regarding County of Hawai‘i swimming pools is available at www.hawaiicounty.gov/pr-aquatics/.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@hawaiicounty.gov.

Going With the Flow: Documenting Kilauea’s Latest Movements

On February 16, 2015 at the Lyman Museum in Hilo, two noted geologists and volcanologists, Dr. Ken Hon and Dr. Cheryl Gansecki of UH-Hilo, will present a special program on the June 27th lava flow.

Photo by Jose “Vamanos” Martinez

Photo by Jose “Vamanos” Martinez

Ken and Cheryl have been studying and filming the eruption and flow activity since the summer of 2014, and their presentation tonight brings together the science and the visual beauty of the ongoing event.  Don’t miss their latest footage and findings!

The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated Lyman Museum showcases the natural and cultural history of Hawai`i.  Located in historic downtown Hilo at 276 Haili Street, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  For additional information, call (808) 935-5021 or visit www.lymanmuseum.org.

Puna Lava Flow Approaches Highway 130, Police and Fire Stations

The June 27th flow remains active near its leading tip, with breakouts scattered in the distal portion of the flow.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The leading tip has not advanced significantly over the past few days, and remains about 600 meters (0.4 miles) from Highway 130.

This photograph looks north, and shows the position of the leading tip of the flow relative to Highway 130.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The brown swaths cut through the forest are fire breaks, and the large brown area at the left side of the image is a recent burn scar.

A view looking upslope at the leading tip of the flow.   Click to enlarge

A view looking upslope at the leading tip of the flow. Click to enlarge

Civil Defense Brush Fire and High Surf/Beach Closure Warning

This is a brush fire information update for Wednesday January 21st at 4:00 PM.

Brush fire 12115

The Hawaii Fire Department reports that two brush fires have started as a result of the lava flow in the Pahoa area.  The fires are located to the west or mauka of Highway 130 and to the south or Pahoa side of the Ainaloa Subdivision.

Brushfire 12115

All fire activity is contained within the fire breaks and there is currently no threat to any communities or properties.  Fire department personnel and units are on scene and working to maintain control and containment of the fire.

This is a High Surf Warning and Beach Closure Information Update for Wednesday January 21st at 4:15PM.

The National Weather Service has issued a High Surf Warning for the West facing shores of Hawaii Island effective through 6:00 PM tomorrow, Thursday January 22nd.  Dangerous surf is expected to start building today through this afternoon and remain at warning levels through Thursday.   Surf heights of 15 to 20 feet are forecasted for the West facing shores of Hawaii Island.  Residents along the coast and in low lying areas are advised to take precautions and boat owners are advised to secure their vessels.  Beachgoers swimmers and surfers are advised to exercise caution and to heed all advice given by Ocean Safety Officials.  Due to the current rising and anticipated dangerous surf conditions the following beaches will be closed effective 12:00noon today:

  • Laaloa or Magic Sands in Kona
  • Kahaluu Beach in Kona
  • Kohanaiki Beach in Kona
  • Ooma
  • Old Airport Park
  • Hapuna Beach
  • Kaunaoa (Mauna Kea Beach)
  • Mahukona Park

Next Community Lava Flow Meeting Scheduled

The next lava flow community update meeting will be held with representatives from Hawai‘i County Civil Defense and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on Thursday, January 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Pāhoa High School Cafeteria.

For the latest Civil Defense message, go to http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/. For more information, contact Hawai‘i County Civil Defense at (808) 935-0031.

12015mapoverview

This large-scale map uses a satellite image acquired in March 2014 (provided by Digital Globe) as a base to show the area around the front of Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow. The area of the flow on January 13 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as determined from satellite imagery on January 17 is shown in red. The most distal portion of the flow on January 17 was approximately 700 meters (0.4 miles) from Highway 130. Overall the activity is sluggish and comprised of scattered breakouts and oozing pāhoehoe toes.

The blue lines show steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths.

Puna Lava Flow Causes Runaway Brush Fires – Evacuation Not Required Yet

This is a brush fire information update for Thursday January 15th at 3:30PM.

11515pic12

The Hawaii Fire Department reports two runaway brushfires in the area of the lava flow in Pahoa.  Both fires started from the active lava flow and are currently burning in a north/northeast direction.  The fires are located to the west or above highway 130 and approximately .6 to .9 miles from the Ainaloa subdivision.

The fires have not yet burned to the fire break adjacent to the Ainaloa subdivision and currently no homes or properties are threatened.  No evacuation is required at this time.

Fire department personnel and equipment are on scene along with helicopters and a bull dozer working to contain and extinguish the fires.

Additional updates will be broadcast as conditions change.

This is your Hawaii County Civil Defense

Lava Flow Crosses Fire Break – Brush Fire Reignited

The lava flow has gone over the fire break line that was designed to hopefully contain the fires that were happening from the Puna Lava Flow and a brush fire has reignited in the Hawaiian Home Lands area of Puna.

Brush fire 115

Brush fire at 12:50 this afternoon

Another fire break line is currently being made to hopefully protect residents and businesses in the affected area of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Pu'u O'o erupting on the left... Brush fire down the slope on the right.

Pu’u O’o erupting on the left… Brush fire down the slope on the right.

Civil Defense is waiting for an update from Hawaii County Fire Department to make an assessment on their plan of actions.

A shelter will be set up at the Pahoa Community Center if an evacuation is ordered.  In the mean time… here is the Civil Defense Message that was published before the brush fire broke out.

This is an eruption and lava flow information update for Thursday January 15th at 11:30 AM.

Today’s helicopter over flight and assessment will be delayed however preliminary ground assessments show that the original flow front and south margin breakout remain stalled. A breakout along the north side of the flow is active and has advanced down slope to an area near the stalled front. This current active down slope breakout has advanced approximately 200 yards per day over the past two days and is located 0.6 miles from the area of Highway 130 to the west or mauka of the Pahoa Police and Fire Stations. Two breakouts along the north margin approximately 1-1.5 miles further upslope or behind the flow front remain active and a more thorough assessment will be performed later today. The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory are maintaining close observations of the flow. All current activity does not pose a threat to area communities and residents and businesses down slope will be informed of any changes in flow activity and advancement.

With the ongoing dry weather conditions, brush fire activity related to the lava flow is likely. Hawaii Fire Department personnel and equipment are on scene and monitoring the fire conditions. There is currently no fire threat to area residents and properties.

Smoke and vog conditions were heavy with a southwest wind blowing the smoke in a northeast direction over the areas of lower Puna through Hilo. Smoke conditions may increase in some areas and individuals who may be sensitive or have respiratory problems are advised to take necessary precautions and to remain indoors.

Additional updates will be broadcast as conditions change.

On behalf of the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency and our partners we would like to thank everyone for your assistance and cooperation.

270 Acre Brush Fire Started By Puna Lava Flow

The brush fire sparked by the lava flow yesterday burned 270 acres in Puna yesterday.
270 AcresAs of 12:30 this evening… it looks like the lava flow is still active in the vicinity of today’s brush fires.
111415picI had family and friends reporting of falling ash on their properties in the Ainaloa and Orchidland Subdivisions of the Big Island today.

Will follow things tomorrow as this lava flow changes each and every day.

NASA Robot Plunges Into Volcano to Explore Fissure

Volcanoes have always fascinated Carolyn Parcheta. She remembers a pivotal moment watching a researcher take a lava sample on a science TV program video in 6th grade.

“I said to myself, I’m going to do that some day,” said Parcheta, now a NASA postdoctoral fellow based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Carolyn Parcheta, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, plans to take this robot, VolcanoBot 2, to explore Hawaii's Kilauea volcano in March 2015. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Carolyn Parcheta, a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, plans to take this robot, VolcanoBot 2, to explore Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano in March 2015. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Exploring volcanoes is risky business. That’s why Parcheta and her co-advisor, JPL robotics researcher Aaron Parness, are developing robots that can get into crevices where humans wouldn’t be able to go, gaining new insights about these wondrous geological features.

“We don’t know exactly how volcanoes erupt. We have models but they are all very, very simplified. This project aims to help make those models more realistic,” Parcheta said.

Parcheta’s research endeavors were recently honored in National Geographic’s Expedition Granted campaign, which awards $50,000 to the next “great explorer.” Parcheta was a finalist, and was voted number 2 by online participants for her research proposal for exploring volcanoes with robots.

“Having Carolyn in the lab has been a great opportunity for our robotics team to collaborate with someone focused on the geology. Scientists and engineers working together on such a small team is pretty rare, but has generated lots of great ideas because our perspectives on the problems are so different,” Parness said.

The research has implications for extraterrestrial volcanoes. On both Earth and Mars, fissures are the most common physical features from which magma erupts. This is probably also true for the previously active volcanoes on the moon, Mercury, Enceladus and Europa, although the mechanism of volcanic eruption — whether past or present — on these other planetary bodies is unknown, Parcheta said.

“In the last few years, NASA spacecraft have sent back incredible pictures of caves, fissures and what look like volcanic vents on Mars and the moon. We don’t have the technology yet to explore them, but they are so tantalizing! Working with Carolyn, we’re trying to bridge that gap using volcanoes here on Earth for practice. We’re learning about how volcanoes erupt here on Earth, too, and that has a lot of benefits in its own right,” Parness said.

VolcanoBot 1

VolcanoBot 1

Parcheta, Parness, and JPL co-advisor Karl Mitchell first explored this idea last year using a two-wheeled robot they call VolcanoBot 1, with a length of 12 inches (30 centimeters) and 6.7-inch (17-centimeter) wheels. It is a spinoff of a different robot that Parness’s laboratory developed, the Durable Reconnaissance and Observation Platform (DROP).

“We took that concept and redesigned it to work inside a volcano,” Parcheta said.

For their experiments in May 2014, they had VolcanoBot 1 roll down a fissure – a crack that erupts magma – that is now inactive on the active Kilauea volcano in Hawaii.

Finding preserved and accessible fissures is rare. VolcanoBot 1 was tasked with mapping the pathways of magma from May 5 to 9, 2014. It was able to descend to depths of 82 feet (25 meters) in two locations on the fissure, although it could have gone deeper with a longer tether, as the bottom was not reached on either descent.

“In order to eventually understand how to predict eruptions and conduct hazard assessments, we need to understand how the magma is coming out of the ground. This is the first time we have been able to measure it directly, from the inside, to centimeter-scale accuracy,” Parcheta said.

VolcanoBot 1 is enabling the researchers to put together a 3-D map of the fissure. They confirmed that bulges in the rock wall seen on the surface are also present deep in the ground, but the robot also found a surprise: The fissure did not appear to pinch shut, although VolcanoBot 1 didn’t reach the bottom. The researchers want to return to the site and go even deeper to investigate further.

Specifically, Parcheta and Parness want to explore deeper inside Kilauea with a robot that has even stronger motors and electrical communications, so that more data can be sent back to the surface. They have responded to these challenges with the next iteration: VolcanoBot 2.

VolcanoBot 2 is smaller and lighter than its predecessor, at a length of 10 inches (25 centimeters). Its vision center can tip up and down, with the ability to turn and look at features around it.

“It has better mobility, stronger motors and smaller (5 inch, or 12 centimeter) wheels than the VolcanoBot 1. We’ve decreased the amount of cords that come up to the surface when it’s in a volcano,” Parcheta said.

While VolcanoBot 1 sent data to the surface directly from inside the fissure, data will be stored onboard VolcanoBot 2. VolcanoBot 2 has an electrical connection that is more secure and robust so that researchers can use the 3-D sensor’s live video feed to navigate.

The team plans to test VolcanoBot 2 at Kilauea in early March.

The California Institute of Technology manages JPL for NASA.

18 Earthquakes Swarm Summit Where Lava is Coming From

18 earthquakes were registered within a few minutes of each other early this morning near the Pu’u O’o crater!

 

Summit Observations: Weak inflationary ground tilt recorded at the summit over the past 3+ days continued to weaken. There was a swarm of earthquakes in the upper east rift zone early this morning; 18 quakes occurred within a few minutes of 1 am.

11015earthquakesThe summit lava lake has shown minor fluctuations associated with changes in spattering behavior, which are also manifested as variations in tremor amplitudes and gas release but no net change in level which was measured at around 48 m (160 ft) below the lip of the Overlook crater Tuesday morning.

Thermal image of the caldera.

Thermal image of the crater.

Small amounts of particulate material were carried aloft by the plume. The average emission rate of sulfur dioxide was around 5,400 tonnes/day for the week ending on January 6.

11015pic

Lava flow behind Pahoa Market Place right now.

 

Brush Fire Caused By Lava Flow Being Monitored

A brush fire caused by the Puna lava flow was reported this afternoon near the firewall.
brushfire
Hawaii Civil Defense reports that about 15 acres are currently on fire and the Hawaii Fire Department is on the scene attempting to put the fire out.

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Talk Story Meetings With Puna’s Councilmen Next Week

Community talk story meetings with Council-members Danny Paleka (5th District) and Greggor Ilagan (4th District) will happen at different locations throughout the Puna District next week.
Talk Story

Come and meet your local Councilmen beginning on Monday, January 12th at the Mountain View Elementary School Gym and ending Friday, January 18th at the Neighborhood Place of Puna (Keaau Location see above).

Puna Lava Flow Heads Towards Ainaloa

Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow has not advanced any closer to Pahoa Marketplace, but is still active. Breakouts were also active near the True/Mid-Pacific geothermal well site, and along the distal 3 km (2 miles) of the flow, where a narrow lobe has been advancing toward the north-northeast.

The view is to the southwest.  (Click to enlarge)

The view is to the southwest. (Click to enlarge)

This shows a comparison of a normal photograph with a thermal image of the flow front. The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image. White and yellow pixels in the thermal image show areas of active breakouts.

 Although the leading tip of the flow has stalled, the thermal image shows that active breakouts are present a short distance upslope of the stalled tip.  (Click to enlarge)

Although the leading tip of the flow has stalled, the thermal image shows that active breakouts are present a short distance upslope of the stalled tip. (Click to enlarge)

This view, looking northeast, shows the distal part of the flow, with the flow lobe behind Pahoa Marketplace to the right and the newer north-northeast advancing lobe to the left.

Ainaloa at top left.  (Click to enlarge)

Ainaloa at top left. (Click to enlarge)

The north-northeast lobe is following a drainage that leads to the steepest-descent path that crosses Highway 130 about 1 km (0.6 mi) south of the Maku`u Farmer’s Market. The flow, however, is still 3.5 km (2.2 mi) upslope from that spot and moving slowly.

This photo shows a closer view of the narrow north-northeast advancing lobe about 2.5 km (1.6 mi) upslope from the Pahoa Markplace. The view is to the northwest. (Click to enlarge)

This photo shows a closer view of the narrow north-northeast advancing lobe about 2.5 km (1.6 mi) upslope from the Pahoa Markplace. The view is to the northwest. (Click to enlarge)

New Lava Breakout Advances Towards Ainaloa Area

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) scientists conducted a helicopter overflight of the June 27th lava flow this afternoon and mapped its perimeter. At the time of the flight, surface breakouts along the distal part of the flow were scattered between 1 and 3.5 km (0.6 and 2.2 mi) upslope from the Pahoa Marketplace and posed no immediate threat.

Click to enlarge

Amongst this activity, a narrow flow lobe (about 2.5 km (1.6 mi) upslope from Pahoa Marketplace) was advancing toward the north-northeast. This lobe has entered a drainage that leads to the steepest-descent path that crosses Highway 130 about 1 km (0.6 mi) south of the Makuʻu Farmer’s Market, but the flow is still 3.5 km (2.2 mi) uplsope from that point and moving slowly. Small breakouts were also active in an area of persistent activity about 7 km (4 mi) upslope from Pāhoa. (Click to enlarge)

Daily updates about Kīlauea’s ongoing eruptions, recent images and videos of summit and East Rift Zone volcanic activity, and data about recent earthquakes are posted on the HVO Web site at http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov.

New Satellite Image Shows Pahoa Still in Danger From Lava Flow

This large-scale map uses a satellite image acquired in March 2014 (provided by Digital Globe) as a base to show the area around the front of Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow. The area of the flow on December 30 at 2:30 PM is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on January 6 at 11:30 AM is shown in red.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The most active parts of the flow were in an area 400 to 900 m (440 to 980 yards) behind the stalled tip of the flow above Pahoa Marketplace, and at the front of a flow lobe that branches off to the north about 3 km (2 miles) behind the stalled flow tip. Other active breakouts on the distal part of the flow were scattered between these two areas.

The blue lines show steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 digital elevation model (DEM; for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths.

Click to enlarge

This small-scale map shows Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow in relation to lower Puna. The area of the flow on December 30 at 2:30 PM is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as mapped on January 6 at 11:30 AM is shown in red. Click to enlarge

Eruption and Lava Flow Information Update For Monday January 5th At 5:45PM

This is an eruption and lava flow information update for Monday January 5th at 5:45PM.

1515breakout

Today’s assessment shows that the flow front and south margin breakout remain stalled and there has been no advancement since Friday.   The front or leading edge is located .5 miles upslope of the Highway 130 and Pahoa Village Road intersection. Two breakouts along the north margin approximately 1-1.5 miles upslope or behind the flow front are showing signs of increased activity and advancement and will be monitored closely. Other surface breakouts and activity along both margins continues upslope however, current activity does not pose an immediate threat to area communities. Civil Defense and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory personnel are maintaining close observations of the flow. Residents and businesses down slope will be kept informed of any changes in flow activity, advancement, and status.

The Railroad Avenue Alternate Access Road will be closed to all traffic effective 12:00noon Wednesday January 7th.  This closure is necessary to allow for road maintenance and to preserve the road until such time that it is needed.  We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and understanding with this closure and assure the community that the alternate access roads will be opened well in advance of any threat or impact of the lava flow.

On behalf of the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency and our partners we would like to thank everyone for your assistance and cooperation.

Next Community Lava Flow Meeting Scheduled

The next lava flow community update meeting will be held with representatives from Hawai‘i County Civil Defense and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory on Thursday, January 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the Pāhoa High School Cafeteria.

A view of Pu'u O'o going off today and the flow below it.

A view of Pu’u O’o going off today and the flow below it.

For the latest Civil Defense message, go to http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alerts/. For more information, contact Hawai‘i County Civil Defense at (808) 935-0031.