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6 PM Update: 3 Lava Flows Entering the Ocean

May 24, 2018, 8:06 AM HST
* Updated May 24, 6:17 PM
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UPDATE: May 24, 2018 at 6:10 p.m.

This is a Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Message for Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 6 p.m.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports eruption activity continues in the Lower East Rift. Volcanic gas emissions are elevated from the fissure eruptions.

During Thursday, May 24, 2018 morning overflight of the ongoing lower East Rift Zone eruption, HVO geologists noted that fissures 6, 13 and 22 were still erupting, with two channelized flows reaching the ocean. The eastern lava channel splits just before reaching the ocean, so it has two entry points, creating a total of three ocean entries on the flow field. USGS photo by M. Patrick.

Due to the volcanic activity, the following information is provided:

  • There are currently three lava flows entering the ocean between Pohoiki Bay and MacKenzie State Park (Highway 137 mile markers 12 to 14).
  • Fissure 7 reactivated this morning and is actively fountaining lava. The flow is moving towards the east into Leilani Estates. It has covered Kaupili and Mohala Streets, between Leilani Avenue and the fissure line.

For more information about the ocean entries and the most up-to-date maps, visit the USGS Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory’s website: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/kilauea/multimedia_maps.html.

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Residents can learn more about current sulfur dioxide emission levels and forecasts by visiting the University of Hawaii’s Vog Measurement and Prediction Project website: http://mkwc.ifa.hawaii.edu/vmap/hysplit/.

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Due to the current activity, stay alert to messages issued by Civil Defense. The next community information meeting will be held at the Pāhoa High cafeteria on Tuesday, May 29 at 5:00 in the evening.

Compilation of three short videos from helicopter overflights of the fissure complex, in Kīlauea Volcano’s lower East Rift Zone on May 22, 2018. Fissure 22 is the dominant fissure, with lava fountaining to about 160 feet or more in height.

This news story will be updated throughout the day as new information becomes available and new articles will be added to the website’s “News” section. Previous information about ongoing events can be found in Big Island Now’s “Volcano Blog” section.

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May 24 MEDIA BRIEFING

Representatives from the U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense, National Park Service and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park held a media briefing and Q&A session about the current situation at Kīlauea volcano. The audio file is below.

Thursday, May 24, 2018, 12:30 p.m.: USGS/HVO Update

The middle portion of the fissure system in the lower East Rift Zone continues to be the most active.

There are currently three lava flows entering the ocean between Pohoiki Bay and MacKenzie State Park (Highway 137 mile markers 12 to 14).

Lava eruption continues in the area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens from Fissure 22, which is feeding the two other ocean entries.

Fissure 7 reactivated this morning and is actively fountaining lava. The flow is moving toward the east into Leilani Estates. So far, it has covered Kaupili and Mohala Streets between Leilani Avenue and the fissure line. The flow continues to be active.

Due to frequent ash emissions at the Kīlauea summit and increased sulfur dioxide emissions, residents should continue to take action to limit exposure.

Due to the volcanic activity, the following policies are in effect:

Be aware of the laze hazard and stay away from any ocean plume.

Residents down rift of the lava flows should be prepared to voluntarily evacuate at a moment’s notice.

Residents can learn more about current sulfur dioxide emission levels and forecasts by visiting the University of Hawaii’s Vog Measurement and Prediction Project website.

For forecasts of where ash would fall if such an explosion occur, consult the Ash3D model output here.

Information on ash hazards and how to prepare for ashfall maybe found here.

Thursday, May 24, 2018, 9:30 a.m.: USGS Status Update on Summit Activity on Kīlauea

Wendy Stovall, USGS Volcanologist

HIGHLIGHTS

East Rift Zone

  • Activity continues in lower East Rift Zone.
  • Extent of lava flows is about two miles, from fissure 8 to fissure 22.
  • Two main channels of lava are emanating from those vents going down to the coast.
  • The easternmost channel has bifurcated, splitting into two, so there are now three channels of lava entering the ocean.
  • Fissure 7 most active right now, producing the most lava.
  • Lava flows are going east from that vent, about 1,300 feet from the source to Kaupili and Leilani Streets in Leilani Estates.

Summit

  • More small explosive eruptions have occurred.
  • Largest explosion was at 6:44 p.m. producing a 7,000-foot-high ash plume.
  • A 3.9-magnitude quake occurred at the summit right below the Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory building, that preceded that explosion.

8:12 a.m.: HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY STATUS REPORT

Kīlauea Volcano Lower East Rift Zone

Eruption of lava continues in the area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivision.

The middle portion of the fissure system (centered on Pohoiki Road) continues to produce the most robust eruptive activity in the Lower East Rift Zone.

Overnight, field crews observed that fissure areas 2, 7, 8 and 3, 14, 21 (between Luana and Kaupili Streets in Leilani Estates) reactivated and are spattering.

Intermittent signals recorded on sensors closest to the two ocean entries suggest they remain active.

Volcanic gas emissions remain very high from the fissure eruptions.

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 Hawai‘i County Civil Defense messages and warnings.

Magma continues to be supplied to the lower East Rift Zone. Elevated earthquake activity continues, but earthquake locations have not moved farther downrift in the past couple of days. The number of located earthquakes remains low.

USGS/HVO continues to monitor the lower East Rift Zone activity 24/7 in coordination with Hawai‘i County Civil Defense. Geologists are onsite to track fissure activity and the advance of lava flows.

Kīlauea Volcano Summit

Small ash emissions from the Overlook crater continued overnight. Moderate trade winds were blowing to the southwest and light ashfall likely occurred in downwind locations. Ash emissions reached 6000′ during the most energetic explosions above sea level as observed in the National Weather Service radar, but dispersed quickly.

Earthquakes in the summit area continue at a moderate rate, as does deflation of the summit region. The earthquakes and ash explosions are occurring as the summit area subsides and adjusts to the withdrawal of magma from the summit.

Additional explosive events that could produce minor amounts of ashfall downwind are possible at any time. Volcanic gas emissions at the summit remain high.

For forecasts of where ash would fall if such an explosion occur, consult the Ash3D model output here.

Information on ash hazards and how to prepare for ashfall maybe found here.

6 a.m.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and other departmental ground crews continue to monitor the eruption activity in the Lower East Rift Zone on a 24 hour basis, and work continues to seal the wells.

Residents will be informed of any conditions that affect their safety.

The situation at Puna Geothermal Venture remains stable.

Lava has not encroached further onto PGV property.

County, state and federal crews are on the scene and monitoring for sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. There is no hydrogen sulfide detected at this time.

Frequent ash emissions continue at the Kīlauea summit. Take action to avoid exposure to ash.

Free masks for ash protection are available on Thursday and Friday, May 24 and 25 from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Masks will be distributed at Ocean View Community Center, Na‘alehu Community Center, Pahala Community Center, Cooper Center and Shipman Gym in Kea‘au.

Each person may receive up to three masks.

Masks do not protect against gasses and vapors. They will only provide filtering for ash.

Due to the current activity, residents down rift should be prepared to voluntarily evacuate at a moment’s notice. Stay alert to messages issued by Civil Defense.

Kīlauea Volcano, East Rift Zone
Live Panorama of Lower East Rift Zone Camera from Lower East Rift Zone [PGcam]
Last Updated 2018-05-24 07:36:04 (HST)
Webcam Notes
This image is from a temporary research camera positioned near Kapoho looking southwest. From left to right, one can see the eruptive fissures, with Fissure 15 on the far left, and Fissure 10 near the center.

May 23 MEDIA BRIEFING

Representatives from the U.S. Geological Survey, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense, National Park Service and Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park held a media briefing and Q&A session about the current situation at Kīlauea volcano. The audio file is below.

VIDEO BELOW: USGS Status Update of Kīlauea Volcano, May 23

HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY STATUS REPORT

Wednesday, May 23, 10:46 p.m.

Kīlauea Volcano Lower East Rift Zone

Eruption of lava and ground cracking continues in the area of Leilani Estates and Lanipuna Gardens subdivision.

The middle portion of the fissure system continues to produce the most robust eruptive activity in the Lower East Rift Zone. The fountains from Fissure 22 feed a single lava channel that reaches the coast just north of MacKenzie State Park. The actual point of entry has continued shifting to the west. Fountains erupted from Fissures 5, 6, 13 and 19 continued to feed a lava flow advancing to the south along the west side of Fissure 22 flows that reached the ocean late this afternoon. There are now two ocean entry points that produce occasional small explosions.

Volcanic gas emissions remain very high from the fissure eruptions.

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 Hawai‘i County Civil Defense messages and warnings.

Magma continues to be supplied to the lower East Rift Zone. Elevated earthquake activity continues, but earthquake locations have not moved farther downrift in the past couple of days. Only a few earthquakes occurred on Tuesday, May  22, in the rift zone.

USGS/HVO continues to monitor the lower East Rift Zone activity 24/7 in coordination with Hawai‘i County Civil Defense. Geologists are onsite to track fissure activity and the advance of lava flows.

Kīlauea Volcano Summit

Small ash emissions from the Overlook crater have occurred frequently through the day. Moderate trade winds were blowing to the southwest today and ashfall may be noticed in downwind locations.

A small explosion from overlook crater at 6:44 p.m. produced an ash cloud that reached 7,000 feet above sea level as determined by the National Weather Service radar. The cloud did not contain much ash and dispersed quickly.

Earthquakes in the summit area continue at a moderate rate, as does deflation of the summit region.

At 5:12 p.m., the summit area was shaken by a shallow 3.5-magnitude earthquake approximately .7 miles below the caldera floor that was felt by those in the area.

Many smaller earthquakes followed for the next 1.5 hours. The sequence of earthquakes stopped when an ash explosion occurred at 6:44 p.m. The earthquakes and ash explosions are occurring as the summit area subsides and adjusts to the withdrawal of magma from the summit.

Additional explosive events that could produce minor amounts of ashfall downwind are possible at any time. Volcanic gas emissions at the summit remain high.

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