Lava Island Emerges

July 13, 2018, 5:32 PM HST (Updated July 14, 2018, 9:59 AM)

The U.S. Geological Survey released these photos of the Lower East Rift Zone on Friday, July 13, 2018.

Kīlauea Lower East Rift Zone lava flows

Fissure 8 continues to be the primary erupting vent on Kīlauea’s lower East Rift Zone, although several other fissures were observed steaming during this morning’s overflight.

Lava continues to flow in the Lower East Rift Zone on July 13, 2018. Click to enlarge. PC: USGS

The braided lava channel extending from the fissure 8 vent (near top, center) and flowing toward the ocean.

Lava flows in the Lower East Rift Zone on July 13, 2018. Click to enlarge. PC: USGS


Some of the abandoned connector channels were more obvious in this morning’s light than on previous days.

Continuation of the main fissure 8 channel, which is now flowing on the west side of Kapoho Crater (left) and was entering the ocean about 300 meters west of the Kapoho ocean entry this morning (steam plume in far distance).

Ocean entry can be seen at the top of the picture. Click to enlarge. PC: USGS

A tiny new island of lava has formed on the northernmost part of the ocean entry.

A new island of lava has formed on July 13, 2018. Click to enlarge. PC: USGS


During this morning’s overflight, HVO’s field crew noticed the island was oozing lava similar to the lava oozing from the broad flow front along the coastline.

A closer view of the new “island,” which was estimated to be just a few meters offshore, and perhaps 20 to 30 feet in diameter.

A new island of lava has formed on July 13, 2018. Click to enlarge. PC: USGS

It’s most likely part of the Fissure 8 flow that’s entering the ocean—and possibly a submarine tumulus that built up underwater and emerged above sea level.

A robust plume (center) was observed this morning at the southern end of the ocean entry, which had migrated about 985 feet to the west.

A robust plume on July 13, 2018. Click to enlarge. PC: USGS

The ocean front east of Kapoho appeared to be reduced, with a more diffuse laze plume this morning (upper left).

Sink holes (dark spots to right of large tree) are beginning to form along fractures beneath the field of tephra that has formed downwind of Fissure 8. Tephra (Pele’s hair and other airborne volcanic glass fragments) from the Fissure 8 lava fountains continues to fall downwind, covering the ground within a few hundred yards of the active vent.

Sinkholes in the Lower East Rift Zone. Click to enlarge. PC: USGS

High winds can 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.

This Hawai‘i County Fire Department aerial image shows Kapoho Crater with the most active branch of the Fissure 8 lava channel now to the west (right) of the cone and feeding a robust ocean entry.

The Kapoho Crater on July 13, 2018. Click to enlarge. PC: USGS

The path of the Fissure 8 channel prior to being diverted can be seen east (below and left) of the crater; despite no visible surface connection between this branch and the sea, lava continues to feed a broad ocean entry, forming a diffuse laze plume.

Kīlauea summit.

USGS scientists captured this stunning aerial photo of Halema‘uma‘u and part of the Kīlauea caldera floor during a helicopter overflight of Kīlauea’s summit Friday, July 13, 2018.

Halema‘uma‘u on July 13, 2018. Click to enlarge. PC: USGS

In the lower third of the image, you can see the buildings that housed the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s Jaggar Museum, the museum parking area, and a section of the Park’s Crater Rim Drive. Although recent summit explosions have produced little ash, the drab gray landscape is a result of multiple thin layers of ash that have blanketed the summit area during the ongoing explosions.

View of Halema‘uma‘u and Kīlauea caldera just before 8 a.m. Friday, July 13, 2018, as seen from HVO’s observation point near Volcano House.

Halema‘uma‘u and Kīlauea caldera on July 13, 2018. Click to enlarge. PC: USGS

Gusty winds were blowing quite a lot of rock-fall dust, visible both within and along the rim of the crater.



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