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Hurricane Had Little Impact on Pu’u O’o

Calm after the storm—a beautiful day on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone. Rain from Hurricane Madeline had little impact on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, shown here, or lava flow 61g.

hvo9216View of the lava pond within the Puʻu ʻŌʻō west pit crater, which is about 50 m (164 ft) across. Weak spattering on the lava pond surface, about 23 m (75 ft) below the crater rim, is visible through the thick volcanic gas cloud

hvo9216aAn aerial view of a new breakout (light-colored flow at center of image) from the 61g tube. The breakout began with some vigor on the morning August 29, but today it was sluggish, with only a few scattered pāhoehoe toes still active on the margins of the flow.

Active breakout from head of tube system

Active breakout from head of tube system

View of the 61g flow field, from Puʻu ʻŌʻō (visible on top, left horizon) to the westernmost ocean entry at the coast, where lava spills into the sea, creating a lava delta.

Fume emanating from the flow field—on the coastal plain (above the ocean entry) and high on the pali (cliff) in the far distance—delineate part of the active tube system that carries lava from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent to the sea.

Fume emanating from the flow field—on the coastal plain (above the ocean entry) and high on the pali (cliff) in the far distance—delineate part of the active tube system that carries lava from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent to the sea.

A closer view of where lava is entering the sea along a 1.1-km- (0.7-mi-) wide section of the coastline. There is no evidence that high surf from Hurricane Madeline had any impact on the lava deltas that have formed, and continue to grow, at the ocean entries.

Discoloration of the ocean water is caused by fragments of volcanic glass, which are produced when hot lava enters cool seawater and shatters into tiny pieces that are carried by currents along the shore.

Discoloration of the ocean water is caused by fragments of volcanic glass, which are produced when hot lava enters cool seawater and shatters into tiny pieces that are carried by currents along the shore.

Aerial Video of Kīlauea Volcano’s Summit Lava Lake

This aerial video footage, filmed by USGS in late July 2016, features Kīlauea Volcano’s summit vent within Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

lava lake 817

Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park’s Jaggar Museum, and the adjacent USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, are perched on the rim of Kīlauea’s summit caldera (foreground of opening footage) just over a mile from the crater, offering spectacular viewing opportunities for Park visitors. Closer to Halemaʻumaʻu, black lava flows on both sides of the summit vent are clearly visible; these flows spilled onto the crater floor when the lava lake overflowed the vent rim in April–May 2015.

At the time this footage was captured, the lava lake level was 22–26 m (72–85 ft) below the vent rim; this morning, it was about 32 m (105 ft) below the vent rim. The summit vent, initially 35 m (115 ft) wide when it first opened in March 2008, has since been enlarged by numerous vent rim collapses and is now about 180 by 250 meters (590 by 820 feet) across.

Hawaii Volcano Observatory Statement on Current Volcanic Activities and What We Can Expect to Happen

Hawaii Volcano Observatory  Statement on current activities:

After a week of elevated activity, HVO would like to review recent observations and thoughts on what we may expect next at Kīlauea Volcano.
429
LAVA FLOWS ON THE FLOOR OF HALEMAʻUMAʻU

Beginning at about 9:40 p.m., HST, last night and continuing into this morning, the Overlook crater lava lake overflowed its rim on several occasions, sending short, lobate sheets of pāhoehoe as far as 130 m (142 yds) across the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. These overflows were captured on USGS-HVO’s web cameras. Thus far, the flows have been brief and their forward motion ceased as the lava lake level fell and lava subsided into the Overlook crater. As yet, no change in lava spattering or surface circulation patterns on the lake in response to these overflows has been noted.

Given the sustained high, and slowly rising, levels of lava within the vent during the past week, these overflows were expected and they are likely to continue intermittently. During similar lava lake activity at Halemaʻumaʻu in the 1800s and early 1900s, lava lakes frequently produced overflows. Over time, overflows and intermittent spattering can build a collar of solidified lava that then contains the rising and circulating lava lake. This phenomenon is known as a ‘perched lava lake.’

ROCKFALLS, EXPLOSIONS, AND SPATTER ON THE HALEMA‘UMA‘U CRATER RIM;
ASHFALL AT JAGGAR OVERLOOK AND BEYOND

Yesterday morning at about 10:20 a.m., HST, a rockfall from the southeast wall of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater above the lava lake initiated an explosion from the lake surface. Large clots of molten spatter up to 2 meters (2 yards) across showered the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu in the vicinity of the closed visitor overlook fence. The hot spatter formed a nearly continuous blanket for about 100 m (110 yards) along the crater rim and extended back from the rim about 50 m (55 yards). Small bits of crater-wall rock were embedded in the spatter clots. Additional explosions and showers of rock and spatter can be expected. They can occur suddenly and without warning and underscore the exceedingly hazardous nature of the Halema‘uma‘u Crater rim, an area that has been closed to the public since late 2007.

Visitors to the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Jaggar Museum Overlook and other Park areas should also note that under southerly wind conditions, similar rockfalls and explosions can result in a dusting of powdery to gritty ash composed of volcanic glass and rock fragments. Several such ashfalls occurred last weekend and, although they represent a very minor hazard at this time, people should be aware that additional dustings of ash are likely at Jaggar Museum and other areas around the Kīlauea summit. For more information about volcanic ash hazards and precautions at Kīlauea, please see: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/hazards/FAQ_SO2-Vog-Ash/main.html

CONTINUED INFLATION AND EARTHQUAKE ACTIVITY IN THE KĪLAUEA SUMMIT AND UPPER EAST RIFT ZONE

For the past week or so, HVO monitoring networks have recorded steady inflation of the Kīlauea Volcano summit area. Shallow earthquake activity has also been elevated beneath the summit caldera, upper East Rift Zone, and upper Southwest Rift Zone. Of the hundreds of earthquakes that have occurred in the past week, most have been small, less than magnitude-2 (M2).However, this morning (April 29) a M3.0 earthquake occurred at the easternmost caldera boundary. It is the second M3+ earthquake in this region during this sequence.

During this period of elevated summit activity, there has been no obvious change in the eruption rate of lava from Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Rates of gas emission from both the summit and Puʻu ʻŌʻō remain largely unchanged. Short-lived increases in sulfur dioxide from the summit lava lake have been noted during rockfall-triggered explosive events, such as the one that occurred yesterday morning.

Video by Mick Kalber:

WHAT WE CAN EXPECT

The current activity is best explained by an increase in magma supply to the Kīlauea Volcano magma reservoir or storage system, something that has occurred many times during the ongoing East Rift Zone eruption. Increased supply and shallow storage can explain the higher magma column in the Overlook crater, as well as the continuing inflation and elevated earthquake activity in the summit region. Higher volumes of magma moving throughout the summit and upper East Rift Zone pressurizes the reservoir and magma transport system and causes small earthquakes and inflationary tilt.

As long as magma supply is elevated, we expect continued high lava lake levels accompanied by additional overflows. Lava from these overflows could cover more of the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater floor, form a perched lake, or result in some combination of these two processes. Spattering or lava fountaining sources can migrate across the surface of the lava lake, as recently observed. We expect continued rockfalls, intermittent explosions and ash fall, and continued high levels of gas release.

The evolution of unrest in the upper East Rift Zone is less certain. It is possible that a surge of lava will reach Puʻu ʻŌʻō and lava flow output will increase, both on the flanks and within the crater of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. It is also possible that lava will form a new vent at the surface. If this happens, it will most likely occur along a portion of the East Rift Zone between Pauahi Crater and Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Other outbreaks in the summit area or along either rift zone on Kīlauea cannot be ruled out. If a new outbreak or surge in lava to Puʻu ʻŌʻō occurs, we will expect a drop in the summit lava lake.

HVO continues to closely monitor Kīlauea Volcano. We are especially watching for any sign of unrest that may precede a new outbreak of lava or a change in output at either Puʻu ʻŌʻō or the summit Overlook crater vent. We will continue to post daily eruption updates on the HVO web site, along with photos, videos, and maps as they are available at: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php

An annotated photograph showing summit features named in this statement, such as Overlook crater and Halemaʻumaʻu, is posted at: http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/archive/summit-labels.jpg

HVO Contact Information: askHVO@usgs.gov

Hawaii Volcano Observatory – Breakouts Persist Northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Breakouts remain active in three general areas near Puʻu ʻŌʻō: 1) at the northern base of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, 2) just north of Kahaualeʻa, and 3) the most distal breakout, about 6 km (4 miles) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

This photograph shows much of the most distal breakout, a portion of which was burning forest. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen near the top of the photograph.  (Click to enlarge)

This photograph shows much of the most distal breakout, a portion of which was burning forest. Puʻu ʻŌʻō can be seen near the top of the photograph. (Click to enlarge)

A closer look at the lava flow field near Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is in the upper left portion of the photograph.

The small forested cone of Kahaualeʻa is just to the left of the center of the photograph. (Click to enlarge)

The small forested cone of Kahaualeʻa is just to the left of the center of the photograph. (Click to enlarge)

Slightly above and to the right of the center of the photograph, the light colored area of lava is the active breakout (which started on February 21) on the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

The breakout north of Kahaualeʻa has one lobe that has traveled along the west side of the perched lava channel that was active in late 2007. This breakout consists of blue glassy pāhoehoe, which is easily visible in the photograph on the left.

breakout6

The white box shows the rough extent of the thermal image on the right. Active (flowing) portions of the breakout are shown by yellow and white colors, while the red and purple areas show hot, but solidified, portions of the surface crust.

In the time since our last overflight (March 24), a new collapse pit has formed in the western portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater.

Numerous hot cracks were observed in this general area during previous visits on foot. (Click to enlarge)

Numerous hot cracks were observed in this general area during previous visits on foot. (Click to enlarge)

This circular pit can be seen in the lower left portion of the photograph, and measures about 27 m (roughly 90 ft) in diameter.

A closer look at the new pit in the western portion of Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater.

Measurements using the thermal camera images indicated that the lava pond surface was roughly 24 m (about 80 ft) below the rim of the pit.

Measurements using the thermal camera images indicated that the lava pond surface was roughly 24 m (about 80 ft) below the rim of the pit.

Views inside the crater with the naked eye were obscured by thick fume, but the thermal images (right) revealed two areas of ponded lava, separated by a pile of collapse rubble, deep within the pit.

Hawaii Volcano Observatory Update – Thermal Image Sequence of Lava Lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater

This thermal image sequence shows the typical motion of the lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

Thermal image sequence of summit lava lake motion... Click Picture to view the sequence.

Thermal image sequence of summit lava lake motion… Click Picture to view the sequence.

For scale, the lake is about 160 meters (520 feet) wide in this view. The clip spans about 12 minutes, and is shown at 30x speed. The lava upwells along the north margin of the lava lake (in this view, near the top of the image). The crust slowly migrates towards the south, where it sinks back into the magmatic system along the south and southeast margins of the lake (bottom of image). The surface moves at roughly 0.5 meters per second, or about 1 mile per hour. The lake surface consists of numerous thin plates of crust, separated by hot cracks. As the lake surface migrates, these plates split, merge and change shape.

 

Kahaualeʻa 2 Flow Still Expanding North of Puʻu ʻŌʻō – Ocean Entries Remain Active

Hawaii Volcano Observatory Report, 6/28/2013:

The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow remains active north of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and has expanded a very minor amount into the forest, burning trees.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The flow, which consists of slowly moving pāhoehoe, has widened but advanced little over the past two weeks.

A wider view of a portion of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow margin at the forest boundary.

A wider view of a portion of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow margin at the forest boundary.

The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, which is active north of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, is fed from a vent at this cone on the northeast rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Small openings at the top of the cone contain sloshing lava, and two skylights at the very start of the Kahaualeʻa 2 lava tube provided views of a swiftly moving lava stream rushing downslope.

This thermal image shows the eastern ocean entry at Kupapaʻu Point.

Photos courtesy of Hawaii Volcano Observatory

Photos courtesy of Hawaii Volcano Observatory

Just inland from the entry point a patch of slightly warmer temperatures indicates an area of recent small breakouts. Inland from this warm patch you can see a narrow line of elevated temperatures that traces the path of the lava tube beneath the surface that is supplying lava to this ocean entry. Two plumes of high temperature water spread out from the entry point.

 

 

Lava Flows Heading North of Puʻu ʻŌʻō – Continued Activity in Puʻu ʻŌʻō Crater

The Kahauale`a II flow began as a breakout on the east rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater on May 6, and has advanced northward towards the forest.

Photo: Hawaii Volcano Observatory

Photo: Hawaii Volcano Observatory

Friday, May 24th, slowly moving pāhoehoe lobes (light colored flows in this image) were burning moss and lichen on older Puʻu ʻŌʻō ʻaʻā flows and approaching the forest boundary. Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone is obscured by thick clouds in this photo.

HVO geologists use a laser rangefinder to measure the height of the shield and cone built up around the northeast lava lake, on the east rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. The peak of the cone is now about 18 m (60 ft) above the former crater rim.

HVO geologists use a laser rangefinder to measure the height of the shield and cone built up around the northeast lava lake, on the east rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater. The peak of the cone is now about 18 m (60 ft) above the former crater rim.

The spatter cone near the north rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater continues to produce pulsating gas jetting sounds. Compare this photo to one taken of the same cone on May 2 to see how much taller the cone has grown.

 

Photo: Hawaii Volcano Observatory

Photo: Hawaii Volcano Observatory

The small lava lake on the northeast rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater has been built into a small cone, with only a few small openings at the top. One of these small openings had sloshing lava near the surface.

Photo: Hawaii Volcano Observatory

Photo: Hawaii Volcano Observatory

Why did the lava tube cross the road? This image shows the Peace Day lava tube coming down the pali in Royal Gardens subdivision. The lava tube parallels Ali`i avenue, shown by the straight line of warm temperatures that represent asphalt heated in the sun. At the intersection of Ali`i avenue and Paradise street, the lava tube makes a sharp turn west and crosses the intersection, and then turns sharply again downslope (towards the right side of the image).

 

This tube feeds lava to the ocean entry and breakouts on the coastal plain. There is no active lava on the surface in this image - the warm surface temperatures are due to heating by the underlying lava tube. Thermal images such as this help HVO geologists map the lava tube system.

This tube feeds lava to the ocean entry and breakouts on the coastal plain. There is no active lava on the surface in this image – the warm surface temperatures are due to heating by the underlying lava tube. Thermal images such as this help HVO geologists map the lava tube system.

 

 

This Week’s Hawaii Volcano Observatory Report

This Week’s Hawaii Volcano Observatory Report, for February 25, 2013:

Lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook pit

Lava Lake 1

The lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu remains poised at a relatively high level within the Overlook pit. The lake level dropped over the weekend. Though rising again now, it has not yet reached last week’s level.

Recently emplaced flows on Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s spillway

Top:  The “spillway”—Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s eastern flank—has been buried by flows fed mostly from a spatter cone on the northeastern side of the crater floor. Most of the dark-colored lava in the foreground is new lava that has resurfaced the spillway. The fume to the left is the trace of the Peace Day tube, newly covered by crater overflows, currently carrying lava to the coast. The tube carrying lava to the northeast is not obvious, but extends toward the lower right side of the photo. Bottom: Some of the recent overflows at Puʻu ʻŌʻō traveled to the southeast. This photo shows those overflows, which comprise several dark-colored channelized flows.

Spatter cone on northwest side of Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s crater floor

Top: There are currently four spatter cones on the floor of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater that have been the source of lava flows over the past several months. The one shown here is on the northwest side of the crater floor, close to the multiframe webcam shown on our website. The webcam, and an HVO geologist standing next to it, give a sense of scale for the spatter cone. The camera to the right of the person is the thermal camera on Puʻu ʻŌʻō shown on our website. Bottom: This is a closer look at the spatter cone on the northwest side of Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s crater floor. The photo was taken from near the site of the webcam on the north rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Spatter cone on northeast side of Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s crater floor

Top: This is another of the spatter cones on the floor of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. This one, on the northeast side of the crater floor, has long had an open top with a view of a small lava lake. Most of the overflows from Puʻu ʻŌʻō in the last few weeks have been fed from this spatter cone, successively piling up until the top of the spatter cone is now about level with the webcam on the north rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.  Bottom: This is a steep aerial view of the small lava pond at the top of the spatter cone on the northeastern side of the crater floor. Lava in the pond flows directly into a lava tube which is supplying the active flow northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The head of the tube, marked by fume, extends from the pond toward the left side of the photo.

Views of the Kahaualeʻa flow, northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Top: The flow traveling north from Puʻu ʻŌʻō, which we are informally calling the Kahaualeʻa flow, abuts the edge of episode 58 flows erupted during 2007–2008. The flow has also partially surrounded one of the few vestiges of greenery within the flow field—the forested top of the old Kahaualeʻa cone. Bottom: This is a view of the front of the Kahaualeʻa flow looking back toward Puʻu ʻŌʻō, where the flow originates.

Ocean entry near Kupapaʻu Point

Lava continues to enter the ocean near Kupapaʻu Point, with an entry point just inside the National Park (near left side of photo) and entry points just east of the Park boundary (near the center of the photo). Widely scattered patches of surface lava are also active inland from the ocean entry points. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is a low lump on the horizon near the top of the photo immediately to the right of the image’s center line. The plume from the lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu is visible in the background to the left of the image’s center line.