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    March 2017
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Updated Lava Flow Map

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the active flow field as of February 16 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of February 24 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 tube (dashed where uncertain).

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 digital elevation model (DEM).

Two New Breakout Lava Flows at Pu’u O’o

Two new breakouts at Puʻu ʻŌʻō began this morning just before 7:00 a.m., HST. The larger of the two breakouts, shown here, originated on the northeast flank of the cone, at the site of the vent for the ongoing June 27th lava flow.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

This breakout point fed a vigorous channelized flow that extended about 1 km (0.6 miles). This lava flow had not extended beyond the existing Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field at the time this photo was taken (8:30 a.m., HST).

A wider view of the larger breakout traveling down the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, towards the northwest. This photo was taken at about 8:30am.  Click to enlarge

A wider view of the larger breakout traveling down the north flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, towards the northwest. This photo was taken at about 8:30am. Click to enlarge

Another breakout occurred just east of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, about 500 m (0.3 miles) from the crater, in the area of the “Peace Day” flow that broke out in September 2011.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This second breakout was smaller than the one on the northeast flank, but was still feeding an impressive lava channel. At the time of this photo (8:30 a.m., HST), this flow was about 700 m (0.4 miles) long and traveling towards the southeast.

A video of the larger breakout, flowing northwest.

November 25th Lava Breakout Advances – New Vent Opens on Northeast Flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō

The breakout that began as a rupture from the tube supplying the June 27th lava flow continues to advance slowly to the northeast and has reached the forest.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

While the front of the flow is about 3 km (1.9 miles) from Puʻu ʻŌʻō, it has a long way to go to catch up to the surface flows that have persisted for the last several weeks about 3 km (1.9 miles) farther to the northeast.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

A new vent opened on the northeast flank of Puʻu ʻŌʻō during the first week of December. This is the incandescent, fuming trio of holes just below and to the left of center in the accompanying image. While this spot happens to coincide with the trend of a tube that was last active in early 2014, aerial views into the opening suggest lava is welling up from below and not “flowing” like lava in a tube (there is no apparent lava reappearing downslope). Thus, our current interpretation is that this is a new vent that happened to open into the area of this abandoned tube as lava worked its way to the surface. Our interpretation may change, however, as our view into the vent improves, assuming that the opening continues to widen.

This is a view of the new vent from the ground, showing the thin roof that caps the brightly incandescent cavity below.

Skylight onto lava pond on northeast spillway

Skylight onto lava pond on northeast spillway

Views from the air show the cavity to be much larger than the current opening, probably extending at least as far as the sulfur staining in the foreground and back under the mound to the right. Right: A bubbling lava surface could be seen about 5 m (16 ft) below the opening of the new vent when viewed from the air. The size of the opening will likely grow with time, as the narrow septa between the individual holes collapse.

Hawaii Volcanoes Observatory Update – High Aerial View of Pu’u O’o

High aerial view of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, looking south-southwest.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The current crater at Puʻu ʻŌʻō is about 280 m (~920 ft) long and 230 m (~755 ft) wide, with a depth of about 25 m (~82 ft). To the west of the crater is another pit 49 m (~161 ft) across that contains a small lava pond.

The pit west of the Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater, shown here, is overhung on most sides and may continue to widen with time.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The lava pond inside is relatively placid, appearing as a black surface, usually with a few tiny spattering areas along the edge.

Lava flows are scattered across a broad area extending from about 3 to 8 km (2–5 mi) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The active flows start just above the horizontal mid-line of the photo, but cannot be picked out easily within the broader inactive flow field due to their distance away in this photo. The most distant active lava is burning forest, and the bluish smoke from this can be seen in a few areas in the distance, partly shrouded by clouds.

USGS – Active Breakouts Near Puʻu ʻŌʻō

Breakouts are active in three general areas near Puʻu ʻŌʻō: at the northern base of Puʻu ʻŌʻō, north Kahaualeʻa, and about 6 km (4 mi) northeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The distal breakout and the breakout north of Kahaualeʻa are both burning forest. There is no eruptive activity downslope from the distal breakout (nothing active near Pāhoa).

Recent flows from the hornito appear black.  (Click to enlarge)

Recent flows from the hornito appear black. (Click to enlarge)

There are several incandescent and outgassing hornitos on the floor of Puʻu ʻŌʻō’s crater, including the one shown here, which is at the northeast edge of the crater. Recent flows from the hornito appear black.

Stunning and Different Perspective of Lava Flow Moving Towards Pahoa

Big Island Photographer G. Brad Lewis took this stunning panorama picture of the Pu’u O’o Eruption on the flanks of Kilauea on the Big Island.  You can see all the way from the source of the flow… down to where I live in Pahoa if you click on the picture to make it larger.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Lewis stated, “I wanted to capture a different perspective on the lava flow moving slowly toward Pahoa. Tie it all in. I shot this on 9/6/14 from the mid-flanks of Mauna Kea. Three plumes on the horizon tell the story. From the Pu’u O’o vent on the right, to the advancing flow on the far left. This is the story of Kilauea Volcano. This is why we have an Island to live on here. This is as natural to the Earth as is breathing to our bodies. Aloha!”

DLNR Plans Lottery For Special Access Feral Cattle Control In Pu‘u ‘O‘o Area Of Hilo Restricted Watershed

The Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) will be opening special access to Pu‘u ‘O‘o area of the Hilo Restricted Watershed for the control of feral cattle.


Special access will be granted to one hunter group per Saturday beginning Nov. 16, 2013, and running through the end of March 2014. Hunters will be selected through a random lottery drawing to be held on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, at the East Hawai‘i DOFAW office at 19 E. Kawili St., in Hilo.

The deadline for applications is Friday, Oct. 18, 2013.

Applications may be obtained at both the East and West Hawai‘i DOFAW offices or online at http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw.

These actions are pursuant to Hawai‘i Administrative Rules 13-124-7, Indigenous, Endangered, Threatened, and Injurious Wildlife, and Introduced Wild Birds, and as authorized by Hawai‘i Revised Statutes; 183-19 Exclusion of Livestock from Forest Reserves, Game Management Areas, and Public Hunting Areas and Title 13, Chapter 123, Unit D, Rules Regulating Game Mammal Hunting. Feral pigs and sheep may be hunted as usual. No dogs are allowed.

Special access will be temporarily granted into the Pu‘u ‘O‘o area of the Hilo Restricted Watershed BY PERMIT ONLY on the following dates:

  • Nov. 16, 23 and 30
  • Dec. 7, 14, 21 and 28
  • Jan. 4, 11, 18 and 25
  • Feb. 1, 8, 15 and 22
  • March 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29

Applications must consist of a minimum of five and maximum of 10 licensed hunters as a group. Applicants may only submit their name on a single application. Duplicate entries will be discarded. Results of the random lottery drawing will be made available at both the East and West Hawai‘i DOFAW offices, as well as online at http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw.

Selected applicants must confirm acceptance of their assigned hunt period by calling the East Hawai‘i DOFAW office at (808) 974-4221 no later than noon Wednesday preceding their assignment. Permits will be issued and/or validated at the entrance gate into Pu‘u ‘O‘o near the 22 mile marker along Daniel K. Inouye Highway (formerly Saddle Road) on the Saturday morning of the assigned hunt. If selected applicants decline or do not call to confirm by the deadline, then a stand-by group will be chosen from the original list of applicants who were not previously selected. Stand-bys will be notified by phone. No stand-bys waiting at the gates will be allowed.

Access to the Hilo Restricted Watershed will be provided at Pu‘u ‘O‘o and a 4×4 vehicle is required. ATVs will be allowed on the access roads and parking area. There will be a bag limit of two cattle of either sex per licensed hunter.

Interested persons wanting additional details regarding the feral cattle control program, application process and/or special accommodations, may contact Division of Forestry and Wildlife in Hilo at (808) 974-4221.