Hawaii Volcano Blog

Volcano Overflight Reveals Plume, Skylight

October 26, 2016, 7:26 AM HST
* Updated October 31, 8:45 AM
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October 20, 2016 61G Flows On

Paradise Helicopters crew with Tropical Visions Video’s photographer/videographer Mick Kalber conducted a volcano flyover at 6 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016.

Pele’s plume from the Pu’u ‘O’o vent and the ocean entry this morning floated southward, as 61g lava flowed on, Kalber reported.

The vent’s lava lake was mostly visible today as rains abated overnight.

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Almost at the top of Pulama Pali the large gaping skylight we saw last week was still much the same.

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The break in the tube allowed us to see lava coursing by, feeding the ocean entry some six miles from the vent, Kalber reported.

“Very few visitors had walked to the ocean entry by daybreak this morning,” said Kalber. “None were at the skylight just above the road, and oddly, there were no lava tour boats at the ocean entry.

The lava delta is growing daily. The eastern ocean entry is extremely robust now. The western entry is “officially dead,” Kalber said. “Pele continues to form new black sand beaches along the coast near her ocean entries. The hot lava’s interaction with the cold seawater shattering the flow into bits that are then tumbled into submission.”

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“A very heavy lava entry has caused littoral explosions lately,” Kalber said, ” but much of the lava is obscured from view. Still, a magnificent sight for visitors on foot, by boat or in the air!

USGS HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY DAILY UPDATE
Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, 8:56 a.m.

Two explosions in as many days were triggered by rocks falling into Kīlauea Volcano's summit lava lake. The event shown above occurred around 12:26 p.m., HST, Thursday, Oct. 20. The other explosion happened around 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19. Both events are reminders why the area around Halemaʻumaʻu Crater remains closed to the public. HVO/USGS photo.

Two explosions in as many days were triggered by rocks falling into Kīlauea Volcano’s summit lava lake. The event shown above occurred around 12:26 p.m., HST, Thursday, Oct. 20. The other explosion happened around 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19. Both events are reminders why the area around Halemaʻumaʻu Crater remains closed to the public. HVO/USGS photo.

Activity Summary: Kīlauea Volcano continues to erupt at its summit and East Rift Zone. The summit lava lake surface is about 45 feet below the floor of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater this morning. The 61g lava flow from the East Rift Zone continues to enter the sea at Kamokuna, posing no threat to nearby communities.

Summit Observations: Tiltmeters at Kīlauea’s summit recorded the turn to the inflation phase of the current DI event shortly before midnight last night and slow inflation continues this morning. The net change over the past day was slight deflation, and the height of the lava lake surface dropped correspondingly; it was measured at 45 feet below the rim of the Overlook Vent this morning, but is rising in concert with the tilt.

Seismicity is within normal, background rates with tremor fluctuations associated with lava lake spattering. Average daily summit sulfur dioxide emission rates ranged from 3,000 to 7,100 metric tons/day during the past week.

Puʻu ʻŌʻō Observations: Webcam images, when available during the past day, show persistent glow at long-term sources within the crater. There were no significant changes in seismicity over the past 24 hours. The tiltmeter on Puʻu ʻŌʻō cone recorded no significant net change in tilt over the past day. The sulfur dioxide emission rate from all East Rift Zone vents was about 375 metric tons/day when last measured on Oct. 20.

Lava Flow Observations: The 61g lava flow, extending southeast from Puʻu ʻŌʻō on Kīlauea’s south flank continues to enter the ocean at Kamokuna.

As a strong caution to visitors viewing the 61g flow ocean entry (where lava meets the sea), there are additional significant hazards besides walking on uneven surfaces and around unstable, extremely steep sea cliffs. 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. In several instances, such collapses, once started, have also incorporated parts of the older sea cliff.

Finally, the interaction of lava with the ocean creates a corrosive seawater plume laden with hydrochloric acid and fine volcanic particles that can irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs.

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