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USGS Releases New Photos of Active Lava Flow

Scattered breakouts remain active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, with the farthest activity about 6 km (3.7 miles) from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Some of these breakouts are active along the northern boundary of the flow field, and are burning several small patches of forest - creating the smoke plumes visible near the center of the photograph.  (Click to enlarge)

Some of these breakouts are active along the northern boundary of the flow field, and are burning several small patches of forest – creating the smoke plumes visible near the center of the photograph. (Click to enlarge)

The breakout that began in late November continues to feed lava to the northern boundary of the flow field via a new lava tube. The trace of this new tube is easily visible in the thermal images.

This view looks northeast, and the breakouts along the forest boundary are visible near the top edge of the photograph.

This view looks northeast, and the breakouts along the forest boundary are visible near the top edge of the photograph.

An HVO geologist collects a molten lava sample for chemical analysis, scooping up a bit with the rock hammer to then drop in the water bucket to quench it. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is visible in the distance.

 

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This view shows the north rim of Kīlauea Caldera, with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park’s Jaggar Museum perched at the rim for ideal views of summit activity.

A clear day at Kīlauea's summit. (Click to enlarge)

A clear day at Kīlauea’s summit. (Click to enlarge)

Mauna Kea is in the distance, partially obscured by clouds, and Mauna Loa’s Northeast Rift Zone extends off the left edge of the photo.

The sun angle was ideal yesterday to show the complex texture on the surface of the lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater at Kīlauea’s summit.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Spattering was active in the southeast portion of the lake. For scale, the lake is about 230 meters or 755 feet across.

New Lava Flow Map Released Shows Continued Activity

Hawaii Volcano Observatory recently updated their map of the June 27th (2014) lava flow as recently as May 21st, 2015, however, it appears they failed to upload it to their website until today May 29th, 2015.

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The area of the flow on April 23 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the flow as of May 21 is shown in red. Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows erupted prior to June 27, 2014, are shown in gray.

Civil Defense Message on Lava Flow Information Update – HVO Elevates Warning

This is an Eruption and Lava Flow Information Update for Saturday September 6th at 10:00AM.

CivildefenseHelicopter over flights and assessments are continuing.  This morning’s assessment shows the surface lava flow continues very slowly in a north direction.  Very little vegetation is burning and there is no wildfire threat at this time.  The surface flow has advanced approximately 50 yards since yesterday.  The presence of steam plumes being emitted from the crack system indicates subsurface flow activity continues.  The surface flow is moving very slowly and does not pose an immediate threat to area residents.  The surface flow is located approximately .8 miles southwest or upslope of the Wao Kele Puna Forest Reserve boundary and moving in a north direction.

Due to the proximity of the lava flow activity to the nearby residential areas, the Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory has elevated the eruption alert level to an Eruption Warning as of Thursday September 4th. Presently, the current activities and flow does not present with an immediate or imminent threat to area communities.  No evacuation is required at this time.  Eruption activity will continue to be monitored and additional updates will be provided.

Although the current flow activity does not pose an immediate threat to area communities, residents are encouraged to continue to review their emergency plans in the event conditions change and should an evacuation be necessary.

The public is reminded that the flow cannot be accessed and is not visible from any public areas.  Access to the Kaohe Homesteads subdivision will be restricted and limited to subdivision residents only.

Hawaii Lava Flow Update

The June 27 lava flow remains active as a narrow lobe pushing through thick forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, triggering small brush fires.

This view is to the east, with the forested cone of Heiheiahulu partly obscured by the smoke plume from this angle. (Click to Enlarge)

This view is to the east, with the forested cone of Heiheiahulu partly obscured by the smoke plume from this angle. (Click to Enlarge)

The flow front today was 8.7 km (5.4 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

The surface flows active at the front of the June 27 lava flow are fed from lava flowing through a lava tube.

This collapse of a portion of the roof has produced a skylight, and a direct view of the fluid lava stream several meters (yards) beneath the surface. (Click to Enlarge)

This collapse of a portion of the roof has produced a skylight, and a direct view of the fluid lava stream several meters (yards) beneath the surface. (Click to Enlarge)

A remarkable perched lava pond was active on the June 27 lava flow more than a month ago. On August 12 a small lava flow erupted from the rim of the inactive pond, with the flow presumably originating from fluid lava that remained in the perched pond interior.

The front of this small flow can be seen at the top of the photograph. (Click to Enlarge)

The front of this small flow can be seen at the top of the photograph. (Click to Enlarge)

This type of flow is commonly erupted from perched lava ponds and small lava shields, and we informally refer to these as “seeps”.

Another skylight and view into the tube supplying lava to the front of the June 27 lava flow. (Click to Enlarge)

Another skylight and view into the tube supplying lava to the front of the June 27 lava flow. (Click to Enlarge)

The seeps have a characteristic spiny, toothpaste-like, flow texture. Today, this seep was inactive, but the flow interior remained incandescent.

Rockfall Triggers Explosive Event at Halema’uma’u

Just after 10 AM this morning, the southeastern wall of the Overlook crater, in Halemaʻumaʻu, collapsed and fell into the summit lava lake.

This image is a still taken from the webcam positioned on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu at that location, showing spatter in the air directly in front of the camera.

This image is a still taken from the webcam positioned on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu at that location, showing spatter in the air directly in front of the camera.

This triggered a small explosive event that threw spatter bombs onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu at the site of the tourist overlook, closed since 2008.

The lava fragments ejected ranged in size from dust-sized particles up to spatter bombs about 70 cm (~30 inches) across.

The larger clasts – the bombs – dotted the ground around the tourist overlook and webcam, giving the area a look reminiscent of a cow pasture.

The larger clasts – the bombs – dotted the ground around the tourist overlook and webcam, giving the area a look reminiscent of a cow pasture.

As has been seen with almost all previous explosive events at Halemaʻumaʻu since 2008, the spatter that was ejected was coated in dust and filled with small lithic fragments – clear evidence of the involvement of lithic wall rock.

The knife is 12 cm (4.5 in) long.

The knife is 12 cm (4.5 in) long.

Spatter landed on wooden fencing laying on the ground at the closed tourist overlook, igniting it in a few places.

hvo87

The part of the Overlook crater wall that collapsed is evident in the center of this photo by its white color.

hvo88

Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory Reports New Crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō

New crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The "June 27 breakout" flow starts near the left side of the photo, marked by thin bluish fume.

The “June 27 breakout” flow starts near the left side of the photo, marked by thin bluish fume.  The view is toward the east.

Since the onset of the “June 27 breakout” flow, the central part of Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s crater has been collapsing slowly. Thick fume and steam prevented good views, but this photo shows the edge of the ring fracture that bounds the collapse. The heavy fume comes from pits that formed where spatter cones used to be.

Perhaps the most interesting feature in the new crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō is the pit formed on the southern side of the crater floor.

View to the East

View is to the south

There, a small lava pond roughly 10 m (~30 ft) across has been sporadically overflowing and sending lava toward the deeper central part of the crater.

Inactive perched lava pond and the new lava tube

After the June 27 breakout started, a perched lava pond – looking something like a giant above-ground swimming pool – grew over the main vent.

The view is toward the southeast

The view is toward the southeast

Notice the nearly flat upper surface of the now-inactive pond just above and to the left of center, and the relatively steep levee which contained the pond. The pond was abandoned after lava broke from a new spot near the west edge of the pond. That flow has begun constructing a lava tube, its trace marked by the fume to the right of the perched pond.

Here is steeper view of the inactive lava pond, just left of center. After it was abandoned, its surface crusted over and sagged to form a gentle bowl.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right. The view is toward the south-southeast.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right. The view is toward the south-southeast.

Skylights and points of fume just right of center mark the trace of the new tube.

Terminus of new flow near Kahaualeʻa

View is toward the southwest, and Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right.

View is toward the southwest, and Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right.

The front of the “June 27 breakout” flow, seen here as the silvery lava at lower right, is about 2.0 km (~1.2 miles) northeast from its vent (as measured in a straight line), and surrounds what little remains of Puʻu Kahaualeʻa, a forested cone several hundred years old.
Here is a closer view showing the beleaguered Puʻu Kahaualeʻa surrounded by active Pāhoehoe flows.
The view is to the northwest

The view is to the northwest

Hawaii Lava Flow Update

The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow front

View is toward the southwest. Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater and the Northeast spatter cone.

View is toward the southwest.

The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow remains active northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Yesterday, its most distant tip, in the foreground of this photo, was burning into the forest 7.0 km (4.3 miles) from its source at Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater and the Northeast spatter cone

Lava reaches the surface at that point and flows directly into a lava tube, which feeds the active flows downslope. View is toward the west.

Lava reaches the surface at that point and flows directly into a lava tube, which feeds the active flows downslope. View is toward the west.

The fuming spatter cone near the center of the photo is informally called the “Northeast spatter cone”, and is the source of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow.

This has happened several times over the past year, and is likely a temporary situation. View is toward the northwest.

This has happened several times over the past year, and is likely a temporary situation. View is toward the northwest.

Right: While the top of the Northeast spatter cone is often open, revealing a small lava pond (see photo from June 6, 2014), today its top was sealed shut.

Halemaʻumaʻu and the Overlook Crater lava lake

The mostly destroyed visitor overlook is at the left side of the photo, on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu. View is toward the west.

The mostly destroyed visitor overlook is at the left side of the photo, on the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu. View is toward the west.

The summit lava lake, its surface composed of solidified plates separated by incandescent seams, was about 42 m (138 ft) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu today.

Spattering like this is common, can occur anywhere around the lake margin (though it most often occurs at the southeast edge), and repeatedly starts and stops. View is toward the southeast.

Spattering like this is common, can occur anywhere around the lake margin (though it most often occurs at the southeast edge), and repeatedly starts and stops. View is toward the southeast.

Spattering was occurring at three locations along the edge of the lava lake during today’s overflight.

Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory Update

Continuing the same trend of activity observed over the past few weeks, the active breakouts on the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow are still slowly advancing into the forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, creating small vegetation fires.

Kahaualeʻa 2 flow still active in forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Kahaualeʻa 2 flow still active in forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

This thermal image looks northeast from Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and shows how the subsurface lava tubes feeding the active breakouts on the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow are clearly visible as lines of slightly higher temperatures on the surface.

At the bottom of the image, the lava tube coming from Puʻu ʻŌʻō forks, with the eastern branch supplying lava to the main area of active breakouts (5 km, or about 3 miles, northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō) and the western branch feeding a small area of breakouts about 2 km (1.2 miles) north of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

At the bottom of the image, the lava tube coming from Puʻu ʻŌʻō forks, with the eastern branch supplying lava to the main area of active breakouts (5 km, or about 3 miles, northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō) and the western branch feeding a small area of breakouts about 2 km (1.2 miles) north of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

 

 

Update From the Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory

Kahaualeʻa 2 flow and Puʻu ʻŌʻō:

The tip of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow was 7.3 km (4.5 miles) from Puʻu ʻŌʻō when mapped on November 21.

Active breakouts were scattered all across the flow up to about 4 km back from the front.

Active breakouts were scattered all across the flow up to about 4 km back from the front. Click to Enlarge

Puʻu ʻŌʻō looms in the background in this photo taken from about 4 km (2.5 miles) away.

The source of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow—a spatter cone at the northeast edge of Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s crater floor—forms the knuckle-like bump just above the center of the photo.

The source of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow—a spatter cone at the northeast edge of Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s crater floor—forms the knuckle-like bump just above the center of the photo. Click to Enlarge

The Kahaualeʻa 2 lava tube is marked by the fuming areas that extend to the right down the flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Spatter cones on Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor:

Lava erupted a few times from two different spatter cones on Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s crater floor over the past few weeks.

These show up as the lighter-colored flows on the near (southeast) flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Click to Enlarge

These show up as the lighter-colored flows on the near (southeast) flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Click to Enlarge

The larger spatter cone to the right, with the obvious fume trace leading away from it to the right (marking the lava tube), is the source of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow.

Incandescent skylights adorn the spatter cone and the lava tube in this close shot of the source for the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow.

The lighter-colored flows in the foreground are recent flows which broke out from the near side of the spatter cone. Click to Enlarge

The lighter-colored flows in the foreground are recent flows which broke out from the near side of the spatter cone. Click to Enlarge

Webcams and other monitoring equipment dot the north rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō in the background.

Hawaii’s History of Destructive Earthquakes the Focus of Two Talks and The Great Hawaii ShakeOut Earthquake Drill

Hawaii’s long history of destructive earthquakes and actions that residents can take to reduce injury during the next one will be the topics of two presentations on Tuesday, October 1.  Both talks are open to the public.

USGS seismologists Wes Thelen (left) and Paul Okubo (right) working at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

USGS seismologists Wes Thelen (left) and Paul Okubo (right) working at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

Paul Okubo, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, will speak about “Damaging earthquakes in Hawaii and the Great Hawaii ShakeOut” in the University Classroom Building, Room 100, on the UH–Hilo main campus, 200 W. Kawili Street, in Hilo. A map of the campus is online.  This free presentation begins at 7:00 p.m.

Wes Thelen, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s seismic network manager, will present “Large earthquakes in the Hawaiian Islands: What you need to know” in the Kīlauea Visitor Center auditorium on Crater Rim Drive, in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, at 7:00 p.m.  This “After Dark in the Park” presentation is free, but Park entrance fees apply.

Large earthquakes pose an ever-present danger to Hawaii.  Since 1868, more than 30 magnitude-6.0 or greater earthquakes have impacted residents throughout the State.  The probability that another destructive —magnitude 6.5 or higher— earthquake will strike the Hawaiian Islands in the next 10 years is 50 percent; in the next 20 years, the probability increases to 75 percent.

According to Okubo, while the Island of Hawai‘i experiences more seismicity than other Hawaiian islands, the exposure to earthquake risk spans the entire State of Hawaii.  As a recent example, he notes that the October 2006 magnitude-6.7 and 6.0 earthquakes, located in West Hawai‘i, caused $200 million in damages on the Islands of Hawai‘i and Maui, as well as an extended power outage on O‘ahu.

Thelen points out that it has been 40 years since a destructive earthquake occurred during business and school hours—the magnitude-6.2 Honomū, Hawai‘i earthquake on April 26, 1973.  Without that experience, conducting drills is even more important for all schools and businesses, as well as individuals and families, to practice “Drop! Cover! Hold on!”—actions that are proven to reduce injury in an earthquake—during the Great Hawaii ShakeOut earthquake drill on October 17.

Both Okubo and Thelen will present an overview of damaging earthquakes in Hawaii, including current theories on why they occur.  They will also talk about “The Great Hawaii ShakeOut” and what people can do to protect themselves during Hawaii’s next large earthquake.

For more information about these two presentations, visit the HVO website or call (808) 967-8844.