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Volcano UPDATE: Big Island Continues to Grow

August 8, 2016, 7:14 AM HST
* Updated August 9, 8:37 AM
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UPDATE: Aug. 9

Rocks from the east rim of Kīlauea Volcano's summit vent fell into the lava lake at 10:02 p.m., HST, on Saturday, August 6, triggering an explosive event that hurled fragments of molten and solid rock onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. USGS?HVO photo.

Rocks from the east rim of Kīlauea Volcano’s summit vent fell into the lava lake at 10:02 p.m., HST, on Saturday, Aug. 6, triggering an explosive event that hurled fragments of molten and solid rock onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. USGS/HVO photo.

Rocks from the east rim of Kīlauea Volcano’s summit vent fell into the lava lake at 10:02 p.m., HST, on Saturday, Aug. 6, triggering an explosive event that hurled fragments of molten and solid rock onto the rim of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater. A light-colored “scar” about 20 m (66 feet) across from this rockfall is visible to the right of the spattering area on the lake surface. Rocks in the vent wall can become unstable when the level of the lava lake drops, as has been going on for the last several days.

ORIGINAL POST: Aug. 8

Eruptions continue at Kīlauea Volcano’s summit and East Rift Zone, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported on Sunday, Aug. 7.

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The 61G flow extending southeast of Puʻu ʻŌʻō on Kīlauea’s south flank remains active and scattered breakouts continue predominantly on the makai (seaward) portion of the coastal plain. The flow poses no threat to nearby communities.

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Recently, widening of the flow field has occurred mainly on its western margin. Lava continues to flow into the ocean at the Kamokuna ocean entry, where a small delta has formed.

The active ocean entry has been observed to span from 150 m (492 feet) to 240 m (787 feet) in the past week and the entire area presents a significant hazard to visitors.

Visitor Alert: As a strong caution to visitors viewing the new ocean entry, there are additional significant hazards besides walking on uneven surfaces and around unstable, extremely steep sea cliffs.

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Venturing too close to an ocean entry exposes you to flying debris created by the explosive interaction between lava and water.

Also, the new land created 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.

Finally, the interaction of lava with the ocean creates an acidic plume laden with fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes and lungs.

Summit Observations: The lava lake at Halemaʻumaʻu Crater remains active and has a current height of 46 m (151 feet) below the overlook crater rim.

Deflationary tilt consistent with a summit DI event continued to be recorded by summit tiltmeters throughout yesterday.

The overall trend in summit tilt for the past several days has been slightly deflationary. Seismicity rates continue to be normal, with tremor fluctuations associated with lava lake spattering.

The average daily summit sulfur dioxide emission rate ranged from 4,000 to 5,500 metric tons/day over the past week.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: No significant changes within Puʻu ʻŌʻō crater are visible on webcam images over the past day, with persistent glow continuing at long-term sources. Seismicity and tilt continue at background rates.

The sulfur dioxide emission rate from all East Rift Zone vents was about 330 metric tons/day when measured on Aug. 5.

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