For more than a month, the Kilauea volcano has been a slow moving disaster on the big island of Hawaii. The lava has destroyed hundreds of homes, Kapoho Bay, a popular vacation spot and blocked roads as Kilauea spews dangerous lava, gases and ash with glass in the air. Evacuations continue on the island. The lava flows have entered the ocean. There were new explosions on Tuesday. The Kilauea volcano erupted on May 3rd.
Below are highlights of the USGS report on Kilauea:
HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY STATUS REPORT
U.S. Geological Survey
Tuesday, June 5, 2018, 10:28 PM HST (Wednesday, June 6, 2018, 08:28 UTC)
KILAUEA VOLCANO (VNUM #332010)
19°25’16” N 155°17’13” W, Summit Elevation 4091 ft (1247 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
Current Aviation Color Code: RED
Kīlauea Volcano Lower East Rift Zone
Vigorous eruption of lava continues from the lower East Rift Zone (LERZ) fissure system in the area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens.
Persistent lava fountaining at Fissure 8 is reaching heights of 150-180 feet. This eruptive activity continues to feed a channel transporting lava to the east to the ocean entry in the Kapoho Bay area. Minor breakouts along the channelized flow have been very small and stagnated before travelling any significant distance. HVO’s late afternoon overflight showed that the Fissure 8 flow is continuing to form a lava delta with limited continuing advances into the surviving parts of the Kaphoho Beach Lots and Vacationlands neighborhoods. The northernmost lobe of the Fissure 8 flow is advancing very slowly to the northeast. No other fissure vents are active.
Pele’s hair and other lightweight volcanic glass from high fountaining of Fissure 8 are falling downwind of the fissure and accumulating on the ground within Leilani Estates. Winds may waft lighter particles to greater distances. Residents are urged to minimize exposure to these volcanic particles, which can cause skin and eye irritation similar to volcanic ash.
The most recent map of lava flows can be found at https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_maps.html
HVO field crews are on site tracking the fountains, lava flows, and spattering from multiple fissures as conditions allow and are reporting information to Hawaii County Civil Defense.
Volcanic gas emissions remain very high from the fissure eruptions. Trade wind conditions are bringing vog to the south and west sides of the Island of Hawaii. Afternoon easterly winds may bring vog to communities in the Volcano area.
The ocean entry is a hazardous area. Hazards include walking on uneven, glassy lava flow surfaces and around unstable, vertical sea cliffs. Venturing too close to an ocean entry on land or the ocean exposes you to flying debris from sudden explosive interaction between lava and water. Also, the lava delta is unstable because it is built on unconsolidated lava fragments and sand. This loose material can easily be eroded away by surf, causing the new land to become unsupported and slide into the sea. In several instances, such collapses have also incorporated parts of the older sea cliff. Additionally, the interaction of lava with the ocean creates “laze”, a corrosive seawater plume laden with hydrochloric acid and fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs.
Magma continues to be supplied to the lower East Rift Zone. Earthquake locations have not moved farther downrift in the past few days and the number of located earthquakes remains low. Seismicity remains relatively low with numerous small magnitude earthquakes and low amplitude background tremor.
Additional ground cracking and outbreaks of lava in the area of the active fissures are possible. Residents downslope of the region of fissures should heed all Hawaii County Civil Defense messages and warnings.
USGS/HVO continues to monitor the lower East Rift Zone activity 24/7 in coordination with Hawaii County Civil Defense.
Kīlauea Volcano Summit
Earthquake activity dropped after Tuesday morning’s small explosion but is slowly rising now, following the pattern of previous events of this type. Monitoring data indicate that subsidence at the summit continues. The mid-day observation flight showed additional Inward slumping of the rim and walls of Halema`uma`u.
Locally felt earthquakes are expected to continue, and further ash explosions are likely.
Over the last week, sulfur dioxide emissions from the volcano’s summit have decreased, but emission rates remain high enough to impact air quality in downwind regions. Additional bursts of gas released with intermittent explosive activity are also transported downwind and may temporarily affect air quality as well.
For forecasts of where ash would fall under forecast wind conditions, please consult the Ash3D model output here: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/observatories/hvo/activity_2018.html
Information on volcanic ash hazards and how to prepare for ash fall maybe found at http://www.ivhhn.org/information#ash (health impacts) OR https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanic_ash/ (other impacts).
The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory is one of five volcano observatories within the U.S. Geological Survey and is responsible for monitoring volcanoes and earthquakes in Hawai`i.