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Lava Flow Crosses Highway, Enters Ocean

This is a Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Message for Saturday, May 19, 2018, at 11 p.m.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory continues to monitor active flows. Flow front #1 has crossed Highway 137 at the 13-mile marker and has entered the ocean. Flow front #2 is approximately 400 Meters from Highway 137. Highway 137 is closed between Kamali‘i Road and Pohoiki Road.  Kamali‘i Road is closed between Highway 130 and Highway 137. Residents in the area have been evacuated. All persons are asked to stay out of the area.

The lava has entered the ocean. Be aware of the laze hazard and stay away from any ocean plume.

This thermal map shows the fissure system and lava flows as of 12:15 pm on Saturday, May 19. The two primary lava flows originate from the Fissure 20-22 area, and crossed Pohoiki Road over the past day. The flow front position based on a 6:40 p.m. update is shown by the red circle. The black and white area is the extent of the thermal map. Temperature in the thermal image is displayed as gray-scale values, with the brightest pixels indicating the hottest areas. The thermal map was constructed by stitching many overlapping oblique thermal images collected by a handheld thermal camera during a helicopter overflight of the flow field. The base is a copyrighted color satellite image (used with permission) provided by Digital Globe. (USGS Map)

  • Laze is formed when hot lava hits the ocean sending hydrochloric acid and steam with fine glass particles into the air.
  • Health hazards of laze include lung, eye and skin irritation.
  • Be aware that the laze plume travels with the wind and can change direction without warning.

USGS: Threat of Even Larger Steam-Driven Violent Explosion

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announces that with ash eruptions occurring from Kīlauea’s summit this week, there is a threat of an even larger steam-driven violent explosion. Such an eruption could happen suddenly and send volcanic ash 20,000 feet into the air, threatening communities for miles. USGS and NOAA’s National Weather Service are working together to observe, model and warn the public of hazardous conditions. Here is where you can find the information you need to stay safe.

This photo was taken on Wednesday, May 15, 2018, At 11:05 a.m. Photograph from the Jaggar Museum, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, captures an ash plume rising from the Overlook crater. Ash falling from the plume can be seen just to the right side (and below) the plume. (USGS Photo)

Observations and Status of Kīlauea

While the ​USGS Hawai‘i Volcanoes Observatory​ is positioning staff to observe the volcano and best communicate its status and evolution, they rely heavily on the weather forecasts from NOAA. Wind forecasts, ​along with dispersion models such as HYSPLIT,​ are critical in understanding where sulphur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5) will disperse from fissures and vents to ensure safety of USGS observers, emergency managers and the public.

Ashfall Advisories, Warnings and Current Weather Forecast from Honolulu

On Tuesday, May 15, 2018 the National Weather Service issued the first ever ashfall advisory for Hawai‘i. Forecasters will issue ashfall advisories and warnings when ashfall is a hazard. NOAA predicts where an ash plume will go and how much ash will accumulate using USGS’s ​Ash3d Volcanic Ash Dispersion Model​.

Volcanic Ash Advisories​ and ​Aviation Warnings

Volcanic ash clouds can threaten air traffic by sandblasting windscreens, clogging pitot tubes, and in severe cases, causing jet engines to shut down. NOAA issues volcanic ash warnings to alert pilots to potential ash in the atmosphere and will include volcanic ash in forecasts for airports.

Tips to Stay Safe

During explosive eruptions, volcanic ash can disrupt downwind populations by causing breathing problems, impacting water quality, clogging air filters, shorting out power systems and making transportation difficult.​ If your community is threatened by ash, you are advised to do the following:

  • Seal windows and doors.
  • Protect electronics and cover air intakes and open water sources.
  • Avoid driving as visibility will be reduced and roads may become slippery.
  • Remain indoors to avoid inhaling ash particles unless it’s absolutely necessary to go outside. If you have a respiratory illness, do not go outside.
  • If you must go outside, cover your mouth and nose with a mask or cloth.

No-Entry Zone Established for Hawai‘i Electric Light Crews in Leilani Estates

Hawai‘i Electric Light announces that all of Lanipuna Gardens and a portion of Leilani Estates has been designated as a no-entry zone for its crews.

Hawaiian Electric Facebook Photo.

These areas are hazardous to enter due to continued ground swelling and cracking, sudden fissure activity, and unsafe levels of SO2. Crews were working in the subdivision in the last few days and have narrowly escaped situations that could have resulted in severe injury. Hawai‘i Electric Light’s priority continues to be safety and can no longer allow its employees to enter hazardous areas.

Poles and wires continue to fall due to changes in the ground formation and seismic activity. Hawai‘i Electric Light continues to warn residents to assume that all downed lines and equipment are energized and dangerous. Stay at least three cars lengths away from downed lines and use caution around all poles and overhead lines.

The following areas are in the no-entry zone. This area may be extended.

  • Leilani Avenue from Pomaikai Street to Pohoiki Road
  • Malama Street, east from Pomaikai Street
  • Kahukai Street from Nohea Street to Leilani Avenue
  • Pomaikai, Moku, and Kupono Streets south of Leilani Avenue
  • All streets east beginning with Nohea Street
  • All of Lanipuna Gardens including Hinalo, Lauone, and Honuaula Streets, and all connector roads into Lanipuna Gardens

Check Hawai‘i Electric Light’s website (www.hawaiielectriclight.com), Twitter (@HIElectricLight), and Facebook (HawaiianElectric) accounts for updates.

Volcano Activity Update 6: Civil Defense Message to Puna District

VIDEO UPDATE 6: May 1, 2018, 12:50 p.m.

HAWAI’I ISLAND: Hawai’i County Civil Defense talking to Big Island Now about the current lava activity. More information here: http://bigislandnow.com/2018/05/01/volcano-activity-update-puu-oo-crater-floor-collapses/#BigIslandNow

Posted by BigIslandNow.com on Tuesday, May 1, 2018

 

Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno spoke to Big Island Now about the island’s recent seismic and lava activity.

Seismicity and ground deformation started increasing at about 3 a.m. on Tuesday, May, 1, 2018, between Pu‘u ‘Ō’ō and Highway 130, and has now migrated beyond 130, he said.

The East Rift runs underground from Kīlauea Summit at Halemaumau all the way down to the ocean at Cape Kumakahi.

Magno asks Puna District residents to stay informed and encourages residents to sign up for civil defense messages and alert via text, email and RSS feed.

He advises Puna residents to prepare themselves—not just for this event—but for any natural disaster, with at least 14 days worth of supplies.

Magno warns visitors to stay off the Kalapana flow field, as a rift could open up any time above that area.

UPDATE 5, May 1, 2018, 11:05 a.m.

Area residents felt the effects of the recent seismic and lava activity.

“I got a Red Cross message this morning informing me of the deflation and saying [the quake was] 3 miles from Highway 130 and EOC (Emergency Operations Center) was activated at 5 a.m.,” said Keoni Delacruz Veloria, a Hilo resident.

“I felt a couple [tremors] around this morning and figured that is what was happening,” said Pāhoa resident Holly Povlsen Johnson. Looks like the biggest one [earthquake] is by the road that we take down toward Kalapana. Will be interesting if it keeps going to the east toward the red road along the ocean.”

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the active flow field as of March 14, 2018, is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of April 13 is shown in red. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray. The yellow line is the trace of the active lava tubes. The Kamokuna ocean entry is inactive. The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 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. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over the 1983 10-m DEM.

UPDATE 4, May 1, from a report published by USGS HVO at 8:49 a.m.

Just after 2 p.m. HST today, April 30, 2018, a marked increase in seismicity and ground deformation (change in ground surface shape) began at Pu‘u ‘Ō’ō on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone. A few minutes later, a thermal webcam (PTcam) located on the rim of the Pu‘u ‘Ō’ō crater showed the first of two episodes of crater floor collapse; the second collapse began at 3:20 p.m. and lasted about an hour.

Webcam views into the crater and surrounding area were frequently obscured by poor weather conditions. However, shortly after 4 p.m., the PTcam recorded images that were likely the signature of small explosions from the western side of the crater as the floor collapsed.

Uplited Puʻu ʻŌʻō floor, April 23, 2018. PC: USGS

At the time of this update 6 p.m., April 30, there was no evidence of new lava within the crater, seismicity remained elevated in the vicinity of Pu’u ‘Ō’ō, and ground deformation at Pu’u ‘Ō’ō had significantly slowed.

Kīlauea’s summit eruption has thus far not been affected by the afternoon’s activity at Pu‘u ‘Ō’ō.

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists continue to closely monitor Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone and summit. A helicopter overflight of Pu’u ‘Ō’ō and the 61g flow field is scheduled for early Tuesday, weather permitting.

HVO webcam images are posted online.

Electronic Tilt at Kīlauea Summit and East Rift Zone, April 25 to May 1, 2018. The blue line shows the radial tilt at Uwēkahuna (UWE), on the northwest rim of Kīlauea’s caldera. The green line is radial tilt at Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō (POC), on the north flank of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō cone. These are recorded by continuously operating electronic tiltmeters. Positive changes often indicate inflation of the magma storage areas beneath the caldera or Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō, but may also result from heavy rainfall or, occasionally, instrumental malfunctions. USGS graphic

Activity Summary: An intrusion of magma occurred overnight in the lower East Rift Zone extending from the general area of Puʻu ʻŌʻō eastward at least as far as Highway 130. As of 8:30 this morning, the level of activity has decreased significantly, but it is too soon to know if this is merely a pause. The intrusion began yesterday afternoon (April 30) associated with collapse of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor. The summit lava lake is unchanged and has risen overnight to just below the rim of the Overlook crater vent. Early this morning (May 1), HVO issued a Volcano Activity Notice calling attention to this intrusion and raising the possibility of a new outbreak along the rift zone if activity intensifies.

Residents of lower Puna should remain on alert and monitor Hawai‘i County Civil Defense messages.

Number of earthquakes per day during the past week, April 25–May 1, 2018, indicated by (blue bars. The red line is the cumulative moment (energy) release. USGS graphic.

Summit Observations: The summit lava lake remains at a high level. Overall, the summit lava lake has shown no response to activity in the middle and lower East Rift Zone. Summit tiltmeters recorded very little change overnight. Tremor amplitude is fluctuating with lava lake spattering. Elevated summit sulfur dioxide emission rates persist.

Depth of earthquakes during the past week (April 25–May 1, 2018) in the area shown on the map above. USGS graphic.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: HVO tiltmeters recorded sudden and dramatic changes accompanying the onset of crater floor collapse at Puʻu ʻŌʻō yesterday (April 30) between about 2 and 4 pm. Weather obscured web camera views of the crater, however thermal camera images showed the collapse in progress followed by emission of high temperature gases continuing into this morning. HVO field crews attempting to reach Puʻu ʻŌʻō this morning (May 1) were turned back by ash in the air above Puʻu ʻŌʻō, likely due to continuing collapse within the crater and vigorous gas emissions. Reddish ash was also noted in abundance on the ground around Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Seismicity remains elevated at Puʻu ʻŌʻō but tiltmeters near the cone show no significant deformation at this time.

Lava Flow Observations: There is no lava flow activity from the 61g lava flow on the coastal plain or pali and no lava is flowing into the ocean. Lava flow activity continues on the upper flow field, above the pali and closer to Puʻu ʻŌʻō, and does not pose a threat to nearby communities at this time. Areas of the upper flow field with active lava flows are located within the Kahaualeʻa Natural Area Reserve, which has been closed to the public by DLNR since 2007 due to volcanic hazards.

Webcam views of the flow field are available here.

Maps of the lava flow field can be found here.

For more information about the Kahaualeʻa NAR closure, go online.

Lava Flow Field and Ocean Entry Hazards: Hazards of active or recent lava flows include, but are not limited to: hot lava surfaces that can cause serious burns upon contact with unprotected or exposed skin; rough, uneven, and sharp terrain that can lead to falls, abrasions, lacerations and other injuries; high air temperature and humidity that can lead to dehydration or heat exhaustion; and steamy ground-fog produced by heavy rain falling (sometimes with little warning) on active or recent lava flows; this steam can severely limit visibility, can be acidic and should be avoided.

UPDATE 3, May 1, 10:30 a.m.

The collapse of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone has
triggered increases in earthquake activity and deformation along a large section of the rift zone, according to Christina Neal, scientist-in- charge at Hawai’i Volcanoes Observatory (HVO).

Neal said that seismicity was occurring as far east as Highway 130, and warned residents of lower Puna to remain alert and watch for further information about the status of the volcano at www.hawaiicounty.gov/active-alert.

“An outbreak of lava in a new location is one possible outcome,” Neal said. “At this time it is not possible to say with certainty if or where such an outbreak may occur, but the area downrift (east) of Puʻu ʻŌʻō is the most likely location, as this is where seismicity and deformation have been concentrated overnight.”

Meanwhile, Hawai‘i County has closed the Kalapana lava viewing area amid the possibility of an eruption, and security has been posted to ensure than no unauthorized persons enter the area.

“We don’t want people hiking in that area, which is downslope from the rift,” Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Maurice Messina said.

Messina said that vendors at the viewing area were told to vacate the area. He noted that the lava viewing area can draw 500 to more than 2,000 visitors, depending on the level of volcanic activity.

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake just offshore of Puʻu ʻŌʻō occurred at 2:39 a.m. Tuesday, May 1, 2018—the largest of a sequence of tremors along the rift zone.

There is no risk of tsunami at that magnitude.

Deformation is the term used to describe change in the surface of a volcano, such as swelling, sinking or cracking, which can be caused by movements in the Earth’s crust due to motion along faults, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

UPDATE 2: May 1, 2018, 9:30 a.m.

This is a Civil Defense message for Tuesday morning, May 1, 2018 at 9:30.

The Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory reports increased shallow earthquake activity in the Puna District below Kīlauea Volcano in the area between Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Highway 130.

This means an outbreak of lava in a new location could occur. While it is not possible to predict where an outbreak could occur, the area east of Puʻu ʻŌʻō is a possible location.

Due to the increased seismic activity, the following are issued:

The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation has shut down the lava viewing area in Kalapana due to the proximity to the increased hazardous activity.

Lower Puna area residents are advised to stay informed by listening to the radio and Civil Defense text alerts and social media sites; this webpage will also be updated.

ORIGINAL POST, May 1, 7:54 a.m.

The Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory reports increased shallow earthquake activity in the Puna District below Kīlauea Volcano in the area between Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Highway 130.

This means an outbreak of lava in a new location could occur.

While it is not possible to predict where an outbreak could occur, the area east of Puʻu ʻŌʻō is a possible location.

Due to the increased seismic activity, lower Puna area residents are advised to stay informed. Monitor Hawai‘i County Civil Defense messages here.

Just before 10 a.m. on Monday, April 30, 2018, a break in the weather allowed HVO’s webcam to capture this image of the lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u at the summit of Kīlauea. Following multiple overflows of the lava lake last week, the lake level dropped over the weekend in concert with the switch to summit deflation. Early on Monday morning, the lava lake level was estimated to be about 49 feet below the vent rim, but shortly thereafter, the summit switched to inflation, with the possibility of the lake level rising in the hours/days. Instead, HVO reported the collapse of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor Monday afternoon, April 30, 2018. PC: USGS

On Tuesday, May 1, 2018, at 4:54 a.m. HVO reported that a collapse of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater floor Monday afternoon, April 30, on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone has prompted increases in seismicity and deformation along a large section of the rift zone, with seismicity currently occurring as far east as Highway 130.

A outbreak of lava in a new location is one possible outcome. At this time it is not possible to say with certainty if or where such an outbreak may occur, but the area downrift (east) of Puʻu ʻŌʻō is the most likely location, as this is where seismicity and deformation have been concentrated overnight.

Recent Observations

Between about 2 and 4:30 p.m. on April 30, following weeks of uplift and increasing lava levels within the cone, the crater floor at Pu’u ‘Ō’ō on Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone collapsed.

Poor weather prevented HVO from flying over the activity or seeing details of the activity in our web cameras on site.

Following the collapse, HVO seismometers and tiltmeters recorded an increase in seismic activity and deformation from Kīlauea Volcano’s summit to an area about 6 to 10 miles downrift (east) of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Overnight, this activity localized downrift of Puʻu ʻŌʻō and continued to propagate eastward along the rift zone.

The largest earthquake of this sequence so far was a magnitude 4.0 earthquake just offshore south of Pu’u ‘Ō’ō at 2:39 a.m. this mornin.

Kīlauea’s summit eruption has thus far not been affected by the change at Pu’u ‘Ō’ō.

Hazard Analysis

The migration of seismicity and deformation downrift (east) of Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone following Monday’s collapse indicates that a large area along the East Rift Zone is potentially at risk for a new outbreak.

The location of any future outbreak will determine what areas are in the path of new lava flows.

The situation is rapidly evolving and USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists continue to closely monitor Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone and summit.

Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatories and Hawai‘i County Civil Defense are continuing to monitor the situation. More updates will be posted at BigIslandNow.com as information becomes available.

For more information, email askHVO@usgs.gov.

Aloha From Lavaland Documentary Debuts Online

Courtesy image

Hawaiian anthropological documentary Aloha From Lavaland is scheduled to be released on Amazon and iTunes on Nov. 15, 2017. The film follows the aftermath of the 2014 eruption of Hawai‘i’s Kilauea volcano, which sent a flow of lava directly toward the center of Pahoa, a small rural town on Hawai‘i Island.

Hard to predict and impossible to stop, the flow threatened to cut off the town’s only access road, leaving the residents of this remote community to rely heavily on one another as they prepare for possible isolation.

Produced in conjunction with Gift Culture Media, Larkin Pictures and Pure Mother Love, this 55 minute documentary explores an inner community perspective of the lava flow, following residents as they ask and answer important questions about community, sustainability, harmony, and what it really means to live in such an unpredictable paradise.

In addition to street interviews and news coverage, the documentary follows a local Hawaiian kumu (healer), a sustainability expert and the leader of a sovereign Hawaiian community over a period of seven months as they attempt to prepare for the unpreparable.

“Puna is unlike any place I’ve ever lived,” says co-director Suzenne Seradwyn, who has created films in Los Angeles, New Mexico and Hawai‘i. “The people here have different values because of the natural elements at play and the rich cultural history surrounding those elements. There is a very important message to share about what happens when you allow yourself to trust these elements.”

“This film is important for anyone living in a state of change, whether it be due to external elements or an internal shift,” says the film’s co-director, Phillips Payson. “Part of what this film explores is how one’s attitude toward change can make all the difference.” Before moving to the Big Island, Payson worked in the film industry in New York and Los Angeles. This is his fourth film.

Aloha from Lavaland premiered at the Hawai‘i International Film Festival and has won three awards including Best Hawai‘i Film at the Honolulu Film Awards.

To view the Aloha from Lavaland trailer, click here. You can also learn more about the film online.

 

Kilauea’s Lava Lake at High Level

On Wednesday evening (September 7), the lava lake at Kīlauea’s summit reached a high level, about 8 m (26 feet) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. This panorama shows the former Halemaʻumaʻu Overlook (closed since 2008 due to volcanic hazards) at the far left.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Jaggar Museum, visible on the skyline in the upper right part of the photo, is a popular destination in Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park for viewing the lava lake activity and spattering lake surface.

A closer look at Kīlauea's summit lava lake on Wednesday evening, around 6:30 p.m., when the lake was just 8 meters (26 feet) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

A closer look at Kīlauea’s summit lava lake on Wednesday evening, around 6:30 p.m., when the lake was just 8 meters (26 feet) below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

Views of Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Its Recent Breakouts

View of breakout on northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The light-colored flows in the foreground are active pāhoehoe flows.  (CLICK ON PICTURES TO ENLARGE)

The view is to the southeast. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right.

The view is to the southeast. Puʻu ʻŌʻō is at upper right.

View of recent breakout on east flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. The flow has advanced about 1.3 km (0.8 miles), but activity today was focused in the middle part of the flow, closer to its vent.

The view is to the west.

The view is to the west.

This photo, looking southwest, shows Puʻu ʻŌʻō in the background, with the northern breakout from May 24 extending to the right, with fume coming from a newly forming tube. The feature in the center foreground is a perched lava pond that formed in July 2014, but was refilled by new lava from the northern breakout in recent days.

The breakout point of the eastern breakout is hard to pick out, if you don't know what to look for. It's the lighter colored lava at the left edge of the photo immediately below center.

The breakout point of the eastern breakout is hard to pick out, if you don’t know what to look for. It’s the lighter colored lava at the left edge of the photo immediately below center.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s current crater subsided by about 10 m (33 ft) in the days following the May 24 breakouts. This view, looking southeast, shows the crater as it was today.

HVO webcams are perched on the edge of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone (an older crater rim) in the foreground.

HVO webcams are perched on the edge of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone (an older crater rim) in the foreground.

Hornito over middle of the three NE flank vents

Hornito over middle of the three NE flank vents

A close-up view of the spatter cone.

A close-up view of the spatter cone.

The ground around the spatter cone was covered in small gobs of spatter and Pele's hair, as shown here.

The ground around the spatter cone was covered in small gobs of spatter and Pele’s hair, as shown here.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

A closer view of the skylight on the east breakout. The skylight is about 6 m (20 ft) across, and the lava stream is traveling toward the upper right side of the photo.

A closer view of the skylight on the east breakout. The skylight is about 6 m (20 ft) across, and the lava stream is traveling toward the upper right side of the photo.

An even closer view of the skylight (about 6 m or 20 ft across).

Again, the lava stream is flowing to the upper right.

Again, the lava stream is flowing to the upper right.

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.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Update – Brief Interruption to Lava Flow Advance

Brief interruption to Kahaualeʻa 2 flow advance; spattering lava pond in Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow has been advancing through forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō for the past several months, but last week deflation at the summit of Kīlauea led to a reduction in lava supply and a shutdown to the flow front as active breakouts diminished. Over the past week summit inflation has returned, and new breakouts have appeared on the flow, but well behind the former flow front. Because the active breakouts at the flow margin have shut down, there was little smoke from forest fires today. If the new breakouts continue to advance they will expand the Kahaualeʻa 2 into the forest once again and fires will resume.

This thermal image shows the front of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow. Summit deflation a week ago caused a reduction in lava supply to the flow and the flow front stalled, and is now inactive. Over the past few days, resumed summit inflation has driven new breakouts (shown by white and yellow colors) on the flow that are behind the stalled flow front. The vent for the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow is on Puʻu ʻŌʻō, marked in the upper left. Compare this thermal image to the visual image above.

Top: This Quicktime movie shows a lava pond, about 15 m (50 ft) in diameter, on the east rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Several small spatter sources are active on the pond margin, and release gas from within the pond. Lava pond activity like this is common in Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Bottom: This Quicktime movie shows weak gas pistoning in the lava pond on the east rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Gas pistoning is the cyclic buildup and release of gas within the pond, and is common in Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

This Quicktime movie shows some of the spattering associated with the gas pistoning, in which the spattering acts as an outlet for gas accumulating in the pond. Note how the crust in the center of the pond is fluctuating. Lava pond activity and gas pistoning are common in Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

This thermal image shows the lava pond on the east rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō from above. The temperature scale is in degrees Celsius. The pond is nearly circular, and has surface crust temperatures between 300 and 400 C (570-750 Fahrenheit – orange colors). The two spatter sources on the pond margin expose fresh, incandescent lava which has temperatures around 1100 C (2000 F) – well above the limit of the camera at this setting (which is 550 C, or 1020 F).

Top: View of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, looking northeast. In the upper left, a line of fume sources marks the path of the lava tube feeding the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow.  Bottom: Closer view of the northeast spatter cone on the east rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Deflation last week resulted in the top of this small cone to collapse, and with resumed inflation a lava pond has filled the new pit. The northeast spatter cone is also the vent area for the Kahaualeʻa 2 lava flow, and the path of the lava tube is marked by the two incandescent skylights.

The lava pond at the northeast cone had several spatter sources active on the pond margin, throwing spatter to a height of a few meters (yards).

Top: A clear view of the lava pond at the northeast cone, on the east rim of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. View is towards the northeast. Several small spatter sources are active on the pond margin. Bottom: Several other spatter cones were active in Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater today, producing loud jetting and hissing sounds as gas is forced through narrow incandescent openings.

Typical fluctuations in Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake level

The summit lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater dropped slightly last week in response to summit deflation, but has returned to higher levels with resumed inflation. Fluctuations like this have been common during the summit eruption. The lake is currently at a level that has been typical for the past year.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Update – Kilauea Slowly Moving/Lava Lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater Remains Active

Kahaualeʻa 2 flow slowly moving through forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The Kahaualeʻa 2 flow continues to slowly move through the forest northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Yesterday, the active flow front was 6.3 km (3.9 miles) northeast of the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

HVO45

Puʻu ʻŌʻō is just left of the center of the photograph in the distance, partially obscured by the smoke.

A closer view of the active flows at the forest boundary, and the numerous plumes of smoke resulting from active lava igniting ʻōhiʻa trees and other vegetation.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

This thermal image, taken from the helicopter on today’s overflight, shows the area of active pāhoehoe near the flow front of the Kahaualeʻa 2 flow, northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō. Blue and purple areas show warm but inactive areas of the flow, while the white and yellow areas are actively flowing lava. The flow surface consists of numerous scattered pāhoehoe lobes, and the advancement of the flow as a whole results from the combined, incremental movement of these individual lobes.

The black (cold) area at the top of the image is forest.  Click to Enlarge

The black (cold) area at the top of the image is forest. Click to Enlarge

Lava lake in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater remains active

The summit lava lake is contained within the Overlook crater, which is about 160 m (520 ft) by 210 m (690 ft) in size, and set within the larger Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

 The lava lake this week has been about 50 m (160 ft) below the rim of the Overlook crater. Click to Enlarge

The lava lake this week has been about 50 m (160 ft) below the rim of the Overlook crater. Click to Enlarge

A closer look at the summit lava lake.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

USGS Report – Lava Flows Near Puʻu ʻŌʻō and Ocean Entry Continues

Two ocean entry points remain active near Kupapaʻu Point, near the boundary of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.

USGS Photo

USGS Photo

The eastern entry has produced a larger plume than that at the western entry, which tends to be weak and wispy. Today several small breakouts were active just inland of the eastern entry point, creating a narrow cascade of lava pouring down the sea cliff.

This photo looks south towards Puʻu ʻŌʻō, where a vent is supplying lava to the Kahaualeʻa II flow, north of the cone.

USGS Photo

USGS Photo

This slow-moving flow has reached the forest line, producing small scattered brush fires.

A close-up of the Kahaualeʻa II flow burning vegetation at the forest line, just north of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

USGS Photo

USGS Photo

The flow consists of numerous slow-moving pāhoehoe lobes.

The summit eruption in Halemaʻumaʻu crater remains active.

USGS Photo

USGS Photo

The lava lake is within the Overlook crater (the source of the gas plume), which is in the southeast portion of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater.

 

Lava Continues to Enter the Ocean at Kupapa`u Point – Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Report

After a 12 km (7.5 mile) journey from the vent on Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone through a lava tube, lava pours into the ocean in narrow streams at one of the eastern entry points.

HVO5

Another entry point has two larger lava streams entering the water. The lava fragments due to cooling and disruption by the battering surf, and some of these pieces float on the water’s surface in front of the entry point (see lower left portion of photo).

HVO6

Over the past week this spatter cone on the floor of Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater has been the source of several large, but brief, lava flows on the crater floor. Today, the cone was producing pulsating gas jetting sounds.

HVO7

The Volcano House Story – Restoring History to Hawai‘i’s Oldest – and Newest – Hotel

The beloved Volcano House will fully reopen on the rim of Kīlauea caldera in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park next month, following a multi-million dollar upgrade and completing yet another chapter in the epic history of this iconic hotel.

NPS Photo by Jay Robinson

NPS Photo by Jay Robinson

Soon, guests will stroll through the lobby, where polished concrete floors of deep jade have been restored to their 1940s luster, and into the Grand Lounge. Flames from the original lava rock fireplace will warm the lobby and cast flickering light upon the imposing bronze of volcano goddess Pele, sculpted by Honolulu artist Marguerite Blassingame. A few more steps will reveal an expansive, comfortably appointed sitting room with spectacular views of Kīlauea and fuming Halema‘uma‘u Crater beyond large picture glass windows.

While temporary shelters on Kīlauea predate the 1824 grass hut built by Chiefess Kapi‘olani and her entourage, it was in 1846 that Hilo resident Benjamin Pitman, Sr. built a grass house, and christened it “Volcano House.” The name stuck, and the first substantial wooden structure to welcome guests at Kīlauea was built in 1877. (Eventually, this one-story building was relocated, repurposed, and currently houses the Volcano Art Center). Famed writers Mark Twain, Isabella Bird and Robert Louis Stevenson were among guests in the 1877 building, as were King David Kalākaua, and French microbiologist, Louis Pasteur.

The Volcano House in 1947, a historic landmark overlooking Kīlauea Crater, east side. NPS Photo

The Volcano House in 1947, a historic landmark overlooking Kīlauea Crater, east side. NPS Photo

In 1895, Greek-born George “Uncle George” Lycurgus acquired the Volcano House, and several structural evolutions ensued, including the construction of an ornate, two-story Victorian-inspired building that served many distinguished guests. Visitors included President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934 (the first U.S. president to visit Hawai‘i), Amelia Earheart, and Princess Victoria Ka‘iulani.

In 1940, a fire from an oil burner destroyed the Victorian-style Volcano House. No lives were lost, but the entire hotel was a complete loss. Undaunted, Uncle George negotiated the construction of a new hotel with the park some 200 yards from its former site. In late 1941, the new Volcano House, designed by Maui-born architect Charles W. Dickey, was unveiled with great fanfare on the crater rim – and it is unveiled again in 2013 in the historic character of the 1940s. Uncle George’s name, flair for hospitality, and affinity towards volcano goddess Pele, will continue to define the character of Volcano House.

Historic photo taken February 1966. NPS Photo/Wm Robenstein.

Historic photo taken February 1966. NPS Photo/Wm Robenstein.

The 33-room hotel is owned by the National Park Service, and is managed under contract by Hawai‘i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC, who also manage Nāmakanipaio Campground and 10 A-frame cabins. While the views from Volcano House of the active volcano may be distracting, the careful observer will note the restoration of canec ceilings in the comfortable guest rooms, appointed with historic crown moldings. Prints by local artist Marian Berger of native birds in the Audubon style of the era adorn the walls. Original tiled hearths in three rooms were upgraded with electrical fireplaces.

Outside, two new decks overlook Kīlauea caldera. Indoors, guests can have a seat at the lovingly restored original koa wood bar in Uncle George’s Lounge, where another bronze sculpture depicting Pele’s vengeance graces a historic fireplace.

If Uncle George were alive today, perhaps he’d marvel over the coincidental return of Pele to her home at Halema‘uma‘u Crater, which began to erupt again in 2008, and to the return of guests to historic Volcano House.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Invites Everyone to Hikes & Programs Offered During National Park Week

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park invites everyone to join special hikes and programs offered at the park during National Park Week, April 20-28. Entrance fees are waived Monday through Friday, April 22-26.

This year’s theme, “Did You Know,” provides a fun way to get to know the park, for both visitors and local residents. For example, did you know that Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is 520 square miles, nearly as large as the entire island of O‘ahu (597 square miles)?

The special, free programs during National Park Week include the following. Please wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, raingear, day pack, snacks and water.

Kīlauea Iki trail and crater will be explored in the Kīlauea Ik hike with Charlene Meyers on April 23, during National Park Week. NPS Photo/Michael Szoenyi.

Kīlauea Iki trail and crater will be explored in the Kīlauea Ik hike with Charlene Meyers on April 23, during National Park Week. NPS Photo/Michael Szoenyi.

Kīlauea Iki Crater Hike. Join master ranger volunteer Charlene Meyers on an invigorating four-mile, three-hour hike through the rain forest and onto the crater floor of Kīlauea Iki. Learn how the 1959 eruption forever changed this landscape.
Where: Meet Charlene at the Kīlauea Iki Overlook Parking lot (on Crater Rim Drive)
When: Tuesday, April 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Amazing Mauna Ulu. Explore fascinating volcanic features like fissures and lava trees that were formed during the 1969-74 Mauna Ulu eruption with master ranger volunteer Noel Eberz. The one-mile, one-hour round-trip hike will highlight the amazing process of plant survival on this harsh lava landscape.
Where: Meet Noel at the Mauna Ulu parking lot, four miles down Chain of Craters Road.
When: Wednesday, April 24 at 11 a.m., and again at 1 p.m.

Park Ranger Adrian Boone will lead a special trek to the Pu‘uloa Petroglyphs during National Park Week, on April 25. NPS Photo/Jay Robinson.

Park Ranger Adrian Boone will lead a special trek to the Pu‘uloa Petroglyphs during National Park Week, on April 25. NPS Photo/Jay Robinson.

Pu‘uloa Petroglyphs. Join Park Ranger Adrian Boone for a two-hour, 1.5-mile round-trip trek across ancient lava flows to the largest petroglyph field in Hawai‘i. Discover the meanings inherent in these rock carvings and gather a greater understanding of the native people who created them.
Where: Meet Ranger Adrian at the Pu‘uloa Petroglyphs parking area, near the end of Chain of Craters Road. (A 45-minute drive from the park entrance).
When: Thursday, April 25 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

NPS Volunteer Day. Save Hawai‘i’s native rainforest, and join forces with volunteers Jane and Paul Field to remove Himalayan ginger, faya, strawberry guava, and other invasive non-native plants that threaten the native understory alongside Halema‘uma‘u Trail. Bring garden gloves. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, rain gear, day pack, snacks and water.
Where: Meet the Fields at Kīlauea Visitor Center. Tools will be provided.
When: Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to noon.

There are also regularly scheduled programs in the park, and at the Kahuku Unit, during National Park Week. For a complete listing, visit the park website: http://www.nps.gov/havo/parknews/20130319_pr.htm. In addition, the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park has special programs during National Park Week: http://fhvnp.org/events/.

The National Park Service will waive entrance fees again on July 13 (Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s 33rd Annual Cultural Festival), August 25 (NPS Birthday), Sept. 28 (National Public Lands Day) and Nov. 9-11 (Veteran’s Day weekend).

Hawai‘i Volcanoes is one of five national park units on Hawai‘i Island. Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park is also free of charge on the NPS fee-free 2013 dates. There is no admission at Pu‘ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site, Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, or along the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail.

 

 

Halema‘uma‘u Eruption Reaches Five-Year Anniversary

Kīlauea Volcano’s summit eruption within Halema‘uma‘u Crater marks its fifth year of continuous activity on Tues., Mar. 19.

Park Ranger Dean Gallagher engages visitors with a “Life on the Edge” talk, held daily at the Jaggar Museum Overlook in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo

Park Ranger Dean Gallagher engages visitors with a “Life on the Edge” talk, held daily at the Jaggar Museum Overlook in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo

To commemorate this anniversary, rangers at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park will offer additional “Life on the Edge” talks at the Jaggar Museum observation deck, which overlooks the fuming, enlarging summit vent. The 20-minute talks, offered on Mar. 19 at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m., encompass the dramatic geological and mythological history of Halema‘uma‘u Crater.

Kīlauea’s summit vent opened at 2:58 a.m., HST, on Mar. 19, 2008, when an explosive eruption created a gaping hole about 115 feet wide on the south wall of Halema‘uma‘u Crater.  Nighttime glow from this hole suggested the presence of molten lava, but it wasn’t until six months later that a lake of roiling lava deep within the vent was definitively observed by U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) scientists.

With the opening of the Halema‘uma‘u vent, already-high summit sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas emission rates increased even more, resulting in increased vog (volcanic air pollution) downwind.  Although the summit SO2 emissions have declined since 2008, they are still averaging 800-1200 tonnes/day, creating hazardous conditions along closed sections of the park’s Crater Rim Drive and poor air quality farther downwind of the vent.

Since 2008, rock collapses within the vent have enlarged its opening on the floor of Halema‘uma‘u Crater.  The vent is now about 520 feet by 700 feet (the area of about 21 Olympic-sized pools), and, according to HVO Scientist-in-Charge Jim Kauahikaua, is likely to continue growing through further collapses of overhung sections of the vent rim.

Halemaumau then and now1

Kīlauea Volcano’s summit vent  “then and now.”  In April 2008, a month after it opened, the vent within Halema‘uma‘u Crater was about 115 feet in diameter.  As of March 2013, it is more than 500 feet across. USGS photos.

Halemaumau then and now2

Kauahikaua describes the lava within the vent as a continuously circulating gas-rich “foam” that rises and falls depending on changes in Kīlauea’s subsurface magma pressure.  The lava lake reached its highest level to date on Oct. 26, 2012, when the lava surface rose to within 72 feet of the vent rim.

While the actual lava lake is not visible from safe viewing areas, its glow—the diffusion of incandescent lava light within the gas plume rising from the vent—is spectacular and easily observed from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park overlooks on clear nights.  When the lava lake level is especially high, park visitors can sometimes hear sharp sounds as rocks in the vent wall expand and crack due to the increased heat.

“The amazing beauty of this eruption, and the ease of viewing opportunities within Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, provides both visitors and residents with unforgettable experiences,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Where else in the world can you park your car, and walk just a few feet to behold the spectacle of one of the world’s most active volcanoes?”

Jaggar Museum and the overlook are wheelchair- and stroller-accessible. Other vantage points for viewing Halema‘uma‘u within the park include Kīlauea Overlook, Kīlauea Iki Overlook, and Keanakako‘i Overlook.

The summit eruption, Kīlauea’s second longest since the early 1900s, can also be experienced through photos, videos, and webcam images posted on HVO’s website (http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov).  A USGS Fact Sheet about this ongoing eruption is currently in press, and will be available online in the coming months.

 

Multiple Lava Streams Enter the Ocean Near Base of Kilauea

Here is the latest USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory Report:

Multiple lava streams entering the ocean, and breakouts near the base of the pali

Several streams of lava were entering the water near Kupapa`u Point. Here at the eastern end of the ocean entry a narrow stream is battered by the surf.

Breakouts near the shoreline have diminished over the past week, but surface flows remain active closer to the base of the pali on the coastal plain.

 

New Study Explains Connection Between Hawaii’s Dueling Volcanoes

A new study will be released that helps to explain the connection between Mauna Loa and Kilauea:

A new Rice University-led study finds that a deep connection about 50 miles underground can explain the enigmatic behavior of two of Earth’s most notable volcanoes, Hawaii’s Mauna Loa and Kilauea. The study, the first to model paired volcano interactions, explains how a link in Earth’s upper mantle could account for Kilauea and Mauna Loa’s competition for the same deep magma supply and their simultaneous “inflation,” or bulging upward, during the past decade.

NPS Photo

The study appears in the November issue of Nature Geoscience. The research offers the first plausible model that can explain both the opposing long-term eruptive patterns at Mauna Loa and Kilauea—when one is active the other is quiet—as well as the episode in 2003-2007 when GPS records showed that each bulged notably due to the pressure of rising magma. The study was conducted by scientists at Rice University, the University of Hawaii, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

“We know both volcanoes are fed by the same hot spot, and over the past decade we’ve observed simultaneous inflation, which we interpret to be the consequence of increased pressure of the magma source that feeds them,” said lead author Helge Gonnermann, assistant professor of Earth science at Rice University. “We also know there are subtle chemical differences in the lava that each erupts, which means each has its own plumbing that draws magma from different locations of this deep source.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-10-hawaii-dueling-volcanoes.html#jCp

Lava Lake Continues Tantalizing Trend – Cool Youtube Clip of Lava Reaching the Ocean

The lava lake within Halema‘uma‘u Crater at Kīlauea is tantalizing visitors and park staff as it continues its current trend of repetitive rising and falling, attracting many to the best vantage point: the overlook at Jaggar Museum.

Photo taken Friday, October 19 courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory report that the lava lake rose to levels approximately 125 feet or less beneath the crater floor this morning, and HVO webcams today suggest the lake rose even higher, before sinking again this afternoon.

Dr. Jim Kauahikaua, HVO’s Scientist-in-Charge, says the lava lake will be visible from the overlook at Jaggar Museum if it comes within about 65 feet of the crater floor. The lava lake reached its highest level today since forming after an explosive eruption on March 19, 2008.

Meanwhile, rangers urge park visitors to obey traffic signs and to be safe. Visitors are gathering at park overlooks after dark to view the dramatic glow that lava beneath the surface casts upon clouds and the plume of volcanic gas, hoping molten lava will rise high enough to be seen. The parking lot at Jaggar Museum is busy with hopeful observers, who are reminded to park only in marked stalls and heed all signs.

All visitors who plan to come after dark are urged to bring flashlights, especially those who park at Kīlauea Overlook, which affords panoramic views of the crater and Kīlauea caldera. Earth cracks, rocks, and other hazards are not easily seen in the dark.

In addition, several pairs of nēnē, the federally endangered Hawaiian goose, are beginning to nest near the Jaggar Museum parking lot, and are sometimes spotted along roadsides and trails. Cars are the leading cause of nēnē fatalities, and drivers are cautioned to be alert, and to drive the speed limit.

“Safety is our number one priority,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We encourage everyone to visit during this fascinating episode, but to exercise caution. Staff will be assisting visitors with parking and interpretation of the current activities. If people come prepared and proceed as directed, they should have an unforgettable experience,” she said.

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is open 24 hours a day.
For more information, visit www.nps.gov/havo. For webcams and daily Kīlauea status updates, visit the USGS HVO website, http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php.

ALSO OF NOTE… check out this video that was uploaded to youtube today:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/MmXYwq6BV_Q]

Hawaiian Cultural & After Dark in the Park Programs for Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in April

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park continues its tradition of sharing Hawaiian culture and After Dark in the Park programs with the community and visitors throughout April, including extra events during Merrie Monarch week. All programs are free, but park entrance fees apply. Mark your calendars for these upcoming events:

Kilauea Explosion Cloud, 1924. Photo Courtesy of the National Parks Services.

Eruption Cycles at Kīlauea. Don Swanson, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, will explain how Kīlauea’s eruptive cycles were recently recognized, what they mean in terms of how the volcano works, and what are the hazards implied by long explosive periods.  Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing After Dark in the Park series. Free.  When: Tues., Apr. 10, 7 p.m.  Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Kalo and Lā‘au Lapa‘au. Sam and Edna Baldado share the many cultural uses of the kalo, or taro, plant. Learn about the hundreds of varieties of kalo in Hawai‘i and how each plant is identified. Ka‘ohu Monfort also shares her knowledge of lā‘au lapa‘au, and how Hawaiian medicinal plants can help heal and nourish.  Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free. When: Wed., Apr. 11 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Musical Performance by Rupert Tripp, Jr. Singer/songwriter Rupert Tripp, Jr. brings his love of music and decades of experience as a performer to the park. Rupert has played with many of Hawai‘i’s top recording artists (the Makaha Sons of Ni‘ihau, Roland Cazimero, Kapena to name a few) and is an accomplished soloist. He also plays acoustic guitar with the trio, Kohala. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free. When: Wed., Apr. 11 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Park Ranger Adrian Boone

‘Ohe Hano Ihu (Bamboo Nose Flute) Workshop. Park Ranger Adrian Boone and National Park Service volunteer Ed Shiinoki will demonstrate and make traditional three-holed bamboo nose flutes for visitors. The ‘ohe hano ihu is played by blowing air into a hole with one nostril and holding the other nostril closed. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free. When: Wed., Apr. 11 and Thurs., Apr. 12, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.   Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Makuakāne ‘Ohana Arts & Music.  Celebrate Merrie Monarch with the Makuakāne ohana as they share the arts and music of Hawaiian culture. Mother Violet May and daughter Helene will teach the art of making a feather kahili, a symbol of royalty. Brother Kenneth, a singer, songwriter and producer, will play original songs from his albums, The Dash and Makuakāne as well as from his other award-winning compositions.  Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free. When: Thurs., Apr. 12 and Fri., Apr. 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.   Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Nā Lei with Patricia Kaula. Hawaiians use lei for blessing crops, adornment for hula dancers, in healing and sacred rituals, and to show royal status or rank. Lei are also given to honor guests or as peace offerings, to celebrate a birth, and as expressions of love and expression. Join master lei artist Patricia Kaula as she shares nā lei, the art of traditional and modern lei making. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing ‘Ike Hana No‘eau “Experience the Skillful Work” workshops. Free. When: Thurs., Apr. 12 and Fri., Apr. 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.   Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai

Pomai Longakit

Pomai in Concert. Contemporary Nā Hoku Hanohano award-winning singer, songwriter and recording artist Pomai Longakit shares her original songs and her latest hit, “Another Rainbow,” at Hawai‘i Volcanoes. Pomai is one half of the brother and sister duo, Pomai and Loeka, known worldwide for their song, “Come ‘A‘ama Crab,” and she hosts a popular radio show on Hawai‘i Island’s KWXX every Saturday and Sunday morning. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu “Heavenly Voices” presentations. Free. When: Wed., Apr. 18 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Endemic Hawaiian Flowers: A Celebration of World Heritage. In 1987, Hawai‘i Volcanoes was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site due in part to the high number of endemic species it protects. This year the park celebrates 25 years of World Heritage by offering a series of special programs about the natural and cultural resources in the park. U.S. Geological Survey botanist and author Linda Pratt presents the story of Hawai‘i’s amazing and beautiful native flowering plants. Isolated by thousands of miles of ocean and cut off from the rest of the world for thousands of years, Hawai‘i boasts one of the highest rates of endemic species.  When: Tues., Apr. 24, 7 p.m. Where: Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium

Reticulite – A Rock So Fragile it Can Be Sliced with a Post-It-Note

Who would have ever thought that there was a solid such as a rock… that you could cut through it with a piece of paper?

Reticulite, a highly vesicular form of pumice, is so fragile it can be sliced in half with a Post-it note!

[youtube=http://youtu.be/aRPLbfTmlWc]

Reticulite from a volcanic eruption of Kilauea is contrasted with lava flows, and with carbonated soda. It can be crushed in your bare hands, or flattened with a plastic spoon; a plastic fork goes right through it. Visit our web site at http://www.uhh.hawaii.edu/~csav/